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The Problem Of Evil

#1 User is offline   Epicurus 

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 09:07 AM

Because three posters in the thread 'Atheism leads to Futility' have suggested that I am an apologist for religion, I thought it might be interesting to look at why I don't believe in Monotheism, which we know as the three faiths of Abraham's God... Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Abraham's God has three absolute qualities which are not disputed by any of the faiths: All powerful, All knowing, All good.

And now here is the syllogism.

If God exists as all powerful, all knowing and all good, then Evil would not exist.
Evil exists
Therefore God does not exist.

It is a very compelling and logically valid argument and I am yet to see any theist writings that can counter it.
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#2 User is offline   Senexx 

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 01:40 PM

Define Evil
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Posted 24 January 2011 - 02:09 PM

View PostKuzushisan, on 24 January 2011 - 12:55 PM, said:

They argue free choice and that Levi's (sorry, Evil) entered the perfect universe of God because 'Eve' gave in to the Serpent ('who isn't evil, but just tempting her in accordance with God's will), thus ushering in evil. 'Adam' then fell for the oldest line in the book, and before you know it, they are 'naked before god'...


So Eve created Evil and the all knowing, all powerful God did nothing to stop that even though he knew that that would happen? That is not good behaviour... not by anyone's standard. If you have the knowledge and power to stop evil, then it is your duty to stop evil. To allow that evil, through inaction, is of itself evil and in no way good.

You say that God gave 'free choice', well we'll assume that too so long as we recognise that he gave was a whole bunch of 'thou shalt not's or else' which are restrictions upon 'free choice' most of which he created after Eve created evil, which is reactionary behaviour to say the least so implies a level of powerlessness on the part of God.

Then again, why give your creation 'free choice' then warn that creation against exercising that 'free choice' with regard to the tree of knowledge? Why put the tree of knowledge in the garden of paradise in the first place? If you don't want your child to have chocolate, you don't put it in front of them, say they can't have it, then leave the room, knowing full well that they will defy you. It's not good parenting.

You are right about the Lucifer... he was not evil, rather, he was always doubting, and not afraid to share those doubts with God, or anyone else who would care to listen. God knew this and apparently had the power to prevent this. More than that, he knew that Lucifer was jealous of these new creations. Lucifer was jealous of humans because were were more free than angels who are servants of god. Now if you have the power to prevent a meeting which you know will result in the creation of evil, then goodness dictates that you prevent that meeting. It will not affect Eve's free choice, because that choice would never exist, if the meeting is prevented. Allowing that meeting which caused the creation of evil was not good.

No matter which way you look at it... you cannot have an all powerful, all knowing and all good God, yet still have evil in the world. Abraham's God does not exist.
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#4 User is offline   Epicurus 

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 02:10 PM

View PostSenexx, on 24 January 2011 - 01:40 PM, said:

Define Evil


Biblical Evil Senexx.
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#5 User is offline   Kuzushisan 

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 04:04 PM

View PostEpicurus, on 24 January 2011 - 02:09 PM, said:

So Eve created Evil and the all knowing, all powerful God did nothing to stop that even though he knew that that would happen? That is not good behaviour... not by anyone's standard. If you have the knowledge and power to stop evil, then it is your duty to stop evil. To allow that evil, through inaction, is of itself evil and in no way good.

You say that God gave 'free choice', well we'll assume that too so long as we recognise that he gave was a whole bunch of 'thou shalt not's or else' which are restrictions upon 'free choice' most of which he created after Eve created evil, which is reactionary behaviour to say the least so implies a level of powerlessness on the part of God.

Then again, why give your creation 'free choice' then warn that creation against exercising that 'free choice' with regard to the tree of knowledge? Why put the tree of knowledge in the garden of paradise in the first place? If you don't want your child to have chocolate, you don't put it in front of them, say they can't have it, then leave the room, knowing full well that they will defy you. It's not good parenting.

You are right about the Lucifer... he was not evil, rather, he was always doubting, and not afraid to share those doubts with God, or anyone else who would care to listen. God knew this and apparently had the power to prevent this. More than that, he knew that Lucifer was jealous of these new creations. Lucifer was jealous of humans because were were more free than angels who are servants of god. Now if you have the power to prevent a meeting which you know will result in the creation of evil, then goodness dictates that you prevent that meeting. It will not affect Eve's free choice, because that choice would never exist, if the meeting is prevented. Allowing that meeting which caused the creation of evil was not good.

No matter which way you look at it... you cannot have an all powerful, all knowing and all good God, yet still have evil in the world. Abraham's God does not exist.


:lol: It's not my argument, and I didn't say it was logical, just that it is one of the arguments proffered to counter 'The Problem of Evil' argument.

God acted to stop Satan, but not Adam and Eve... Really? I would have thought it was all part of a convenient fairy tale with which you seem to infer has a basis in fact... :P

I am not 'right about Lucifer'; Lucifer never existed. It's just a part of the fairy tale :rolleyes:

And seeing as you're cross-posting and kinda getting arguments out of context, I'll leave this here:

The argument/syllogism "The Problem of Evil" is what you say counters this belief, but it doesn't hold up against an argument that says that god did not create evil, humans (supposedly) did. God being omniscient, etc., etc., and not being evil, is not a guarantee that evil will not occur. or as you wrote:

"If God exists as all powerful, all knowing and all good, then Evil would not exist.
Evil exists
Therefore God does not exist."

This does not hold. Just because god does no evil does not by default mean that evil cannot exist. Being all-powerful, all-knowing and all-good gives the bearer immense power, but it doesn't preclude the notion that another entity with the ability to choose won't commit some form of evil, by whatever standard this is measured. I don't think I've ever seen a theist argue that this is the case, although their argument of predestination certainly comes close. Flawed though their logic might be, they still argue that god has remained 'pure' and it is humans that have tainted the universe; in fact, this is the very basis of Christianity - original sin.
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#6 User is offline   Senexx 

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 05:20 PM

View PostEpicurus, on 24 January 2011 - 02:10 PM, said:

Biblical Evil Senexx.


Please provide an example or two. So I can understand what you mean.
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Posted 24 January 2011 - 06:00 PM

View PostEpicurus, on 24 January 2011 - 09:07 AM, said:

If God exists as all powerful, all knowing and all good, then Evil would not exist.
Evil exists
Therefore God does not exist.

It is a very compelling and logically valid argument and I am yet to see any theist writings that can counter it.

Yes, the old chestnut...

God...

Omnipotent
Omniscient
Omni-benevolent

Choose only two!

The old cliche "God is no respecter of individuals" denies his omni-benevolence.
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#8 User is offline   dumbcluck 

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 06:52 PM

Define evil? simple. I cannot because it does not exist! "Evil" is once again a word as concocted by the various Western religions. What is perceived as evil by those religions and most of humanity is really a "mindset". This means that every criminal action from rape to bank robbery to murder is not caused by...."evilness" but by.....a reaction of the mind.As I keep asserting each of us all 6 billion of on this planet have NOT a perfect "mindset" either via genetics or by some trauma at birth.These 'defective" mindsets can range from a mind which may be "defective" on a level of 0000.1% which means that with this level of imperfection we may have say....a slight obsession to touching door handles.......to a 100% which means at this level we will be psychotic killers. Anything in between the two levels would be relative...the higher the level, the worse the mental imperfection. This is "evil" explained. The mind does it all
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Posted 24 January 2011 - 07:22 PM

View Postdumbcluck, on 24 January 2011 - 06:52 PM, said:

Define evil? simple. I cannot because it does not exist! "Evil" is once again a word as concocted by the various Western religions. What is perceived as evil by those religions and most of humanity is really a "mindset". This means that every criminal action from rape to bank robbery to murder is not caused by...."evilness" but by.....a reaction of the mind.As I keep asserting each of us all 6 billion of on this planet have NOT a perfect "mindset" either via genetics or by some trauma at birth.These 'defective" mindsets can range from a mind which may be "defective" on a level of 0000.1% which means that with this level of imperfection we may have say....a slight obsession to touching door handles.......to a 100% which means at this level we will be psychotic killers. Anything in between the two levels would be relative...the higher the level, the worse the mental imperfection. This is "evil" explained. The mind does it all

Can you name a society that does not define murder in terms of an evil?

The question is not whether killing/assault is necessarily always wrong but when and under what circumstances they are considered evil.
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#10 User is offline   Kuzushisan 

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 07:53 PM

View Postlogos, on 24 January 2011 - 07:22 PM, said:

Can you name a society that does not define murder in terms of an evil?

The question is not whether killing/assault is necessarily always wrong but when and under what circumstances they are considered evil.

Well, many 'Western' societies for a start... :lol:

Define murder? And before you think I'm being a smart arse, think of war/self defense etc.. To Army 'A' defending its country, your soldiers being killed by the other side is 'murder', but Army 'A' killing soldiers of Army 'B' is collateral damage or some other 'elegant' term to describe murder.

Alternatively, you watch as a man beats up another man/woman on a street, and he looks set to kill his victim. You step in to help (as the law requires) and you end up having to kill the assailant. Was it self-defense or murder?

Is it evil that you had to kill this man in order to preserve the life of another? At what point is murder (in whatsoever way it is named) less evil or justifiable?

Yet, our societies do make these distinction in both name and severity of punishment :huh:
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Posted 24 January 2011 - 08:58 PM

View PostKuzushisan, on 24 January 2011 - 07:53 PM, said:

Well, many 'Western' societies for a start... :lol:

Define murder? And before you think I'm being a smart arse, think of war/self defense etc.. To Army 'A' defending its country, your soldiers being killed by the other side is 'murder', but Army 'A' killing soldiers of Army 'B' is collateral damage or some other 'elegant' term to describe murder.

No nation considers the killing of soldiers by its enemy's soldiers, during an international war, as murder. Collateral damage refers to unintended or accidental damage during the course of a war (such as the deaths of civilians, not the engagement and killing of enemy soldiers.

View PostKuzushisan, on 24 January 2011 - 07:53 PM, said:

Alternatively, you watch as a man beats up another man/woman on a street, and he looks set to kill his victim. You step in to help (as the law requires) and you end up having to kill the assailant. Was it self-defense or murder?

Well isn't it (self defense) given the clear circumstances you define?

Is it evil that you had to kill this man in order to preserve the life of another? At what point is murder (in whatsoever way it is named) less evil or justifiable?

View PostKuzushisan, on 24 January 2011 - 07:53 PM, said:

Yet, our societies do make these distinction in both name and severity of punishment :huh:

All societies would indeed determine killing to be murder where the assailant's force was far greater in magnitude than it need have been.
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#12 User is offline   Kuzushisan 

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 09:12 PM

View Postlogos, on 24 January 2011 - 08:58 PM, said:

No nation considers the killing of soldiers by its enemy's soldiers, during an international war, as murder. Collateral damage refers to unintended or accidental damage during the course of a war (such as the deaths of civilians, not the engagement and killing of enemy soldiers.


Which is my point. It is still murder, it's just (somehow) defensible murder. I should have used the term 'friendly fire' then, but accident or no, the intent of a soldier is to kill another before s/he is killed. Makes no iota of difference to me how you 'tart' it up, it's still murder.

View Postlogos, on 24 January 2011 - 08:58 PM, said:

Well isn't it (self defense) given the clear circumstances you define?

Is it evil that you had to kill this man in order to preserve the life of another? At what point is murder (in whatsoever way it is named) less evil or justifiable?


All societies would indeed determine killing to be murder where the assailant's force was far greater in magnitude than it need have been.


Again, my point exactly, in that not all societies do determine things in this way. If I shoot you as a soldier, it is defense. If I shoot you as a soldier and you are a civilian, it is murder. If I shoot you with a bloody big cannon, in war, and you may or may not be a soldier, it is collateral damage.

So, the end result is that we define different types of murder as more or less evil in our societies, and we name them/punish for them in different ways too.

Taking the life of another in a deliberate action is murder. Taking the life of another by accident is still murder; we just pretty it up and call it manslaughter/collateral damage :unsure:
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Posted 24 January 2011 - 09:58 PM

View PostKuzushisan, on 24 January 2011 - 09:12 PM, said:

Which is my point. It is still murder, it's just (somehow) defensible murder. I should have used the term 'friendly fire' then, but accident or no, the intent of a soldier is to kill another before s/he is killed. Makes no iota of difference to me how you 'tart' it up, it's still murder.



Again, my point exactly, in that not all societies do determine things in this way. If I shoot you as a soldier, it is defense. If I shoot you as a soldier and you are a civilian, it is murder. If I shoot you with a bloody big cannon, in war, and you may or may not be a soldier, it is collateral damage.

So, the end result is that we define different types of murder as more or less evil in our societies, and we name them/punish for them in different ways too.

Taking the life of another in a deliberate action is murder. Taking the life of another by accident is still murder; we just pretty it up and call it manslaughter/collateral damage :unsure:

However, once determined, all societies define murder as an evil.
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Posted 24 January 2011 - 10:03 PM

View Postlogos, on 24 January 2011 - 09:58 PM, said:

However, once determined, all societies define murder as an evil.


If you say so...
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Posted 24 January 2011 - 10:18 PM

View Postlogos, on 24 January 2011 - 09:58 PM, said:

However, once determined, all societies define murder as an evil.

Why would you define accidental killing as murder?
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#16 User is offline   Kuzushisan 

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 10:45 PM

View Postlogos, on 24 January 2011 - 10:18 PM, said:

Why would you define accidental killing as murder?

Firstly, it isn't just me; plenty of ethicists share this view.

The intent.

"I really didn't mean to kill him, it's just that we were driving the car really fast after just fitting the new wheels and then I got into this chase with another car (and even though you know that the potential for death to result from these actions is a possibility) and now he's dead after sideswiping a telephone pole."

Unfortunate accident, called accident by mis-adventure or culpable driving. Still murder, in that the driver took deliberate action that resulted in their own/others death.

or

"We didn't realize the other tank was a 'partner country's' and their refusal to respond to our radio commands lead us to believe they were an enemy-combatant, so we opened fire (killing all on board)"

Unfortunate accident, called 'friendly fire' in perhaps one of the biggest oxymorons to come out of the 20th century. Still murder in that deliberate action was taken to 'neutralise' a perceived target.

or

"I had no choice but to kill him as he was going to kill this woman (despite there being a multitude of other options, such as, rendering him unconscious by some means, subduing him by some means, etc., and fear overriding the logical part of the brain that tells us that killing another human being just isn't on)"

Horrible choice, unfortunate 'accident', called justifiable homicide, therefore not evil. Still murder.

We tart up the events as a way of helping us to cope with the reality that our actions have resulted in the loss of life to another human being.

Societies do make distinctions between different forms of murder, and by this defining, they persuade some of us that not all types of murder are evil. They are 'unfortunate', 'accidental', 'understandable', 'excusable', 'forgivable' and so on. This is part of the social contract, the payoff we like to think separates us from the evil, murdering, monsters of the world.
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Posted 25 January 2011 - 03:17 AM

View PostKuzushisan, on 24 January 2011 - 04:04 PM, said:

:lol: It's not my argument, and I didn't say it was logical, just that it is one of the arguments proffered to counter 'The Problem of Evil' argument.


If you re-read the quote from you, you will note, that you said, they said... so all is well in the world. This is an argument to them, not you, to show how the syllogism works.

Quote

God acted to stop Satan, but not Adam and Eve... Really? I would have thought it was all part of a convenient fairy tale with which you seem to infer has a basis in fact... :P


Nobody said that Satan was stopped by God, rather that he should have, if he was good. It's not a fairy tale though... It is Myth. Refer to the definition in the thread "Atheism leads to futility". In some ways, I am suggesting that the Myth should be recast as fairy tale, because God is a logical impossibility.

Quote

I am not 'right about Lucifer'; Lucifer never existed. It's just a part of the fairy tale :rolleyes:


He is myth and not fairytale. :rolleyes:

Quote

And seeing as you're cross-posting and kinda getting arguments out of context, I'll leave this here:


It's not out of context. It acknowledges that you are not the author, rather that 'they' are... It addresses original sin to which the syllogism is applied and then shows why God can't be all that!

Quote

The argument/syllogism "The Problem of Evil" is what you say counters this belief, but it doesn't hold up against an argument that says that god did not create evil, humans (supposedly) did. God being omniscient, etc., etc., and not being evil, is not a guarantee that evil will not occur. or as you wrote:

"If God exists as all powerful, all knowing and all good, then Evil would not exist.
Evil exists
Therefore God does not exist."


The argument does not claim that God created Evil, It says that Evil should not exist if an all powerful, all knowing and all good God exists. It does say that God should act to stop evil because he is all good and has the power and knowledge to do it.

As an aside, this idea that God did not create evil is a flimsy one. He created the instrument of evil and knew it to be the instrument of evil, and knew that it would create evil. Surely creating, knowingly, the instrument of evil is an evil act in itself?

Quote

This does not hold. Just because god does no evil does not by default mean that evil cannot exist.


Oh he's evil alright. I give you the Book of Job as evidence of that. Job was unquestioning in his faith and obedience to God. God knew that. But Lucifer came along one day and challenged that saying Job was so faithful and obedient because God favoured him. Lucifer bet God, that Job would speak out against God, if his life was not so perfect. God accepted the bet, knowing full well the outcome. Lucifer then when about destroying the life of Job by killing his children, destroying his home and filling his body with disease. Job did not speak out at God. God won the bet and then compensated Job.

Quote

Being all-powerful, all-knowing and all-good gives the bearer immense power, but it doesn't preclude the notion that another entity with the ability to choose won't commit some form of evil, by whatever standard this is measured. I don't think I've ever seen a theist argue that this is the case, although their argument of predestination certainly comes close. Flawed though their logic might be, they still argue that god has remained 'pure' and it is humans that have tainted the universe; in fact, this is the very basis of Christianity - original sin.


Logically, if you are all powerful, all knowing and all good, you can create another entity that has no capacity for evil yet still has 'free choice'. More than that, because you are all good, you must create an entity that has no capacity for evil yet still has 'free choice'.

That many theist argue the case for Evil not being of God, is because that what theism teaches. People are gullible... they accept appeals from authority as fact... without actually thinking about it. The same applies to science... If I did a quick vox pop asking how many senses does a human have... what do you think the answer will be? And what is the real answer?
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Posted 25 January 2011 - 03:20 AM

View PostSenexx, on 24 January 2011 - 05:20 PM, said:

Please provide an example or two. So I can understand what you mean.


The slaying of Able by Cain?

Evil represents the behaviour and happenings that we commonly call bad and wrong.
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Posted 25 January 2011 - 03:27 AM

View PostKuzushisan, on 24 January 2011 - 09:12 PM, said:

Which is my point. It is still murder, it's just (somehow) defensible murder.


Then abortion is murder, giving the dying lethal doses of morphine is murder, killing in defence is murder and heck... since we are going to be so liberal with our definitions why hold to speciesism... so that killing other life forms that are not human, is murder. :rolleyes:
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Posted 25 January 2011 - 04:49 AM

The four attributes of god about which all monotheists would agree

God is omnipresent
God is omniscient
God is omnipotent
God is omni-benevolent

Yet theists will also argue that evil (darkness) is the absence of god.

Would any theist argue that god is present in hell?
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