The problem with Evil

Brenden_E

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You're not able to resist a chemical process in your brain. Do you have the ability to will your chemicals and neurons as you will? What caused your wanting to will them?
Maaaybe.
In varsity I got super duper sick with a fever. Laid on my couch, and in the moment I could connect with every cell in my body. Like Caesar I commanded them to wage war against the fever. I could literally feel them move and fight.

Was better the next day.
 

Techne

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Exactly - it is decided by the people in charge. Those that see themselves as the moral guardians of humanity. Doesn't matter if they are religious or agnostic or whatever. They decide what is considered good and bad.
Yes well, thank goodness there is an alternative to this authoritarian/Nietsche-type BS relativistic philosophy. As an argument against Pure Goodness it is a non starter.
 

KT-B

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I love when people act as if they're the first person to notice an apparent inconsistency in the Bible. As if billions of people over the last 5000 years just failed to notice. Covetousness and jealousy aren't entirely synonymous for a start. Also, the God of the old testament has never been held up as a moral example for mankind. He's very much do as I say not as I do. Just like any parent with a young child, because young children can't understand stuff like reasons.
Why are you assuming that I think this ? I planned to be a missionary - I know the Bible is full of inconsistencies and so does anyone who ever read it. And yes - the God of the old testament differs from the new one. But we are talking of God as a complete being. So we must just ignore his violent past and still call him absolutely pure and perfect and good ? We are to forget all the people he killed - his anger at the lack of reverence from the various peoples over the centuries ? How he punished people for disobeying him ? If we are to forgive all that - how does it suddenly make him perfect and pure ?


Nick333 said:
Damaged parents raise damaged kids, and on it goes. It's a consequence inherent in the human condition.

We're all certainty capable of evil. We've all done some evil shyt no doubt. We're all capable of good too.

As to God allowing Jesus to be tempted: Jesus lived a fully human life in order to provide humanity with an example of the path to redemption. You may as well ask why God allowed him to be nailed to a cross. Surely God could have stopped that too? Well sure, but that would have defeated the whole purpose of the incarnation, which was to show the way to redemption, which is to say, to be tempted, and tried and stay true to God.
Of course we are all capable of despicable acts - of unimaginable evil. How does admitting that make him perfect and pure goodness ? Because we are flawed creatures, perhaps that makes him better than us - but going by his whole history - he is definitely not without faults/flaws.

Tell me - if God really loves and cares for his creation - why do some many suffer through the free will he has given others ? Think of a baby that gets raped. The rapist has free will in that he can do as he wants. Where is the baby's free will in all this ? In a school shooting - only the shooter has "free will". Everyone else is just a potential victim. I get why he made Jesus go through all that - but all the other people that suffer ? Where is the mercy, the kindness, the compassion ?
 

KT-B

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Yes well, thank goodness there is an alternative to this authoritarian/Nietsche-type BS relativistic philosophy. As an argument against Pure Goodness it is a non starter.
You mean God ? Read the history of the Christian church and think about your comment :)
 

Brenden_E

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Since our senses are flawed and we live inside a subjective reality contained within ourselves, everyone's experience of evil will differ. And hence, it's an indefinable concept linked to each unique person.

We may have consensus about the broad concept, which generally relates to what causes harm within a society, but even so there will be disagreement as it's impossible to come to a consensus on every possible action in every possible context.

I agree with Prawnapple that free-will is naught but an illusion. With a complete data set of our biological makeup and outside stimulants you could simulate and predict every decision we think we make. Remember that movie where they would arrest the peeps before they did the crimes? That was some real ****.
 

Techne

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You mean God ? Read the history of the Christian church and think about your comment :)
The history of virtue ethics vs consequentialist ethics is really a no brainer. You can add all the worst things done due to virtue ethics (heck, let's be charatable and assume all religions follow virtue ethics) and it is still just a blip on the radar compared to consequentialist ethics playing out in the real world.
 

KT-B

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The history of virtue ethics vs consequentialist ethics is really a no brainer. You can add all the worst things done due to virtue ethics (heck, let's be charatable and assume all religions follow virtue ethics) and it is still just a blip on the radar compared to consequentialist ethics playing out in the real world.
Actually my experience is that religion uses Consequentialist ethics. It is not the person's virtue - but their belief in God.

I did find this enlightening: https://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/becoming-a-christian/is-christ-the-only-way/dont-all-good-people-go-to-heaven
 

Techne

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Actually my experience is that religion uses Consequentialist ethics. It is not the person's virtue - but their belief in God.

I did find this enlightening: https://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/becoming-a-christian/is-christ-the-only-way/dont-all-good-people-go-to-heaven
You see, even you recognise that consequentialist ethics is BS when religious people abandon virtue ethics for poor theology or when religious institutions become infected with it. In fact, you can probably make an argument that one of the reasons religion became so unpopular is that consequentialist ethics took root in various religious institutions.
 

kolaval

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Yes well, thank goodness there is an alternative to this authoritarian/Nietsche-type BS relativistic philosophy. As an argument against Pure Goodness it is a non starter.
Can you explain the Nietsche reference?
 

kolaval

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Regarding evil.
I believe evil exists because we humans know what we are doing when we are doing it.
If you see a male lion kill cubs that are not his, you might think it cruel but not don't attribute evil to it.
If you read up on unit 731 it's different.
I do think people attribute their actions to "the devil" so as to avoid taking responsibility.

Regarding free will.
I think Dostoevsky explained it nicely.

Shower upon him every earthly blessing, drown him in a sea of happiness,
so that nothing but bubbles of bliss can be seen on the surface; give him economic prosperity,
such that he should have nothing else to do but sleep, eat cakes
and busy himself with the continuation of his species,
and even then out of sheer ingratitude, sheer spite, man would play you some nasty trick.
He would even risk his cakes and would deliberately desire the most fatal rubbish, the most uneconomical absurdity, simply to introduce into all this positive good sense his fatal fantastic element.
It is just his fantastic dreams, his vulgar folly that he will desire to retain,
simply in order to prove to himself--as though that were so necessary--
that men still are men and not the keys of a piano,

which the laws of nature threaten to control so completely
that soon one will be able to desire nothing but by the calendar.
And that is not all: even if man really were nothing but a piano-key,
even if this were proved to him by natural science and mathematics,
even then he would not become reasonable,
but would purposely do something perverse out of simple ingratitude, simply to gain his point.
 

Nick333

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Why are you assuming that I think this ? I planned to be a missionary - I know the Bible is full of inconsistencies and so does anyone who ever read it. And yes - the God of the old testament differs from the new one. But we are talking of God as a complete being. So we must just ignore his violent past and still call him absolutely pure and perfect and good ? We are to forget all the people he killed - his anger at the lack of reverence from the various peoples over the centuries ? How he punished people for disobeying him ? If we are to forgive all that - how does it suddenly make him perfect and pure ?
Well this is only a problem if you take the Bible literally or at face value. I think the OT is a collection of works that describe ancient people's attempts at understanding God in the context of their own, often brutal, world. Just a simple thought: given the nature of human civilisation, what would have become of the Jews if God had commanded them to love their neighbour as they loved themselves in OT times? I suspect they would be just a footnote in history if they'd turned the other cheek in the days of Exodus.

At the end of the day all any of us can do is try to understand God, because if He exists, God is obviously beyond our understanding.



Of course we are all capable of despicable acts - of unimaginable evil. How does admitting that make him perfect and pure goodness ? Because we are flawed creatures, perhaps that makes him better than us - but going by his whole history - he is definitely not without faults/flaws.
Well admitting our flaws doesn't make God perfect. Nothing we do could make the Creator anything. He is what he is. I conceive of God as all that is good - love, joy, happiness, kindness, etc. - and all that is evil as the consequence of our failure to choose all that is good.

Tell me - if God really loves and cares for his creation - why do some many suffer through the free will he has given others ? Think of a baby that gets raped. The rapist has free will in that he can do as he wants. Where is the baby's free will in all this ? In a school shooting - only the shooter has "free will". Everyone else is just a potential victim. I get why he made Jesus go through all that - but all the other people that suffer ? Where is the mercy, the kindness, the compassion ?
Well, because the alternatives that I can see are that he removes our free will, which would make us robots, or that he destroys us.

Perhaps the suffering of this world is as nothing compared to the eternal peace, and joy of heaven?

Perhaps allowing suffering is how you allow creatures like us to learn to love and be good. How can we learn not to dispair, if we don't ever have cause to dispair? How do we learn to love our neighbour if we never have cause to hate him?

I think it's very easy to misunderstand Christianity. I certainly have most of my life and I think it's largely the fault of Christians. I don't think I could go into every misconception I had particularly eloquently right now, but I've had them since I was 4 or 5 when my dad showed me some paintings of someone's conceptions of Dantes hell and told me that's what happens when you are bad. That should give you some conception of my dad's ideas about God and religion.

Anyway as an example of my own misunderstanding of Christianity, I've always had an aversion to the "Praise Jesus, oh yes Lord! God is good!" type of Christianity. What kind of God could want that sort of saccharin nonsense directed at him all the time? Why would He need to be worshipped and praised? My take now is that he doesn't want praise for its own sake. It's that when we feel genuinely grateful and worshipful it means we are doing life right.
 

KT-B

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You see, even you recognise that consequentialist ethics is BS when religious people abandon virtue ethics for poor theology or when religious institutions become infected with it. In fact, you can probably make an argument that one of the reasons religion became so unpopular is that consequentialist ethics took root in various religious institutions.
I do see where you are coming from. Christians ruined my beliefs. Basically turned me agnostic.

Reading various sites I see that they are no longer as dogmatic as they were when I was young. Things were very black and white and you were most certainly going to hell if you weren't an angel and didn't accept the Bible as a whole.

But I digress from the main topic.
 

KT-B

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Well this is only a problem if you take the Bible literally or at face value. I think the OT is a collection of works that describe ancient people's attempts at understanding God in the context of their own, often brutal, world. Just a simple thought: given the nature of human civilisation, what would have become of the Jews if God had commanded them to love their neighbour as they loved themselves in OT times? I suspect they would be just a footnote in history if they'd turned the other cheek in the days of Exodus.

At the end of the day all any of us can do is try to understand God, because if He exists, God is obviously beyond our understanding.
And that is the crux - if he exists. When I was attending Bible study it was frowned upon to claim that the OT was a representation of what might have transpired. They took the words "inspired by God" literally and the Bible was the actual word of God. Adam and Eve were alone on the planet as they were the only two humans that had been created and put in Eden. They begat all the other humans - even the ones Cain went to see in the city and have children with. But because it was so soon after creation - we were genetically pure and incest was not a bad thing. I have many problems with this way of thinking. It is nice to know that Eden is now possibly seen as a story to explain how we fell out of favour with God - and he may very well have created more beings than just the two.

Nick333 said:
Well admitting our flaws doesn't make God perfect. Nothing we do could make the Creator anything. He is what he is. I conceive of God as all that is good - love, joy, happiness, kindness, etc. - and all that is evil as the consequence of our failure to choose all that is good.
No but it would make him appear so. If you put a glass with a tiny flaw next to a glass that has a huge crack in it, the first glass may appear perfect in comparison.

Nick333 said:
Well, because the alternatives that I can see are that he removes our free will, which would make us robots, or that he destroys us.

Perhaps the suffering of this world is as nothing compared to the eternal peace, and joy of heaven?

Perhaps allowing suffering is how you allow creatures like us to learn to love and be good. How can we learn not to dispair, if we don't ever have cause to dispair? How do we learn to love our neighbour if we never have cause to hate him?

I think it's very easy to misunderstand Christianity. I certainly have most of my life and I think it's largely the fault of Christians. I don't think I could go into every misconception I had particularly eloquently right now, but I've had them since I was 4 or 5 when my dad showed me some paintings of someone's conceptions of Dantes hell and told me that's what happens when you are bad. That should give you some conception of my dad's ideas about God and religion.

Anyway as an example of my own misunderstanding of Christianity, I've always had an aversion to the "Praise Jesus, oh yes Lord! God is good!" type of Christianity. What kind of God could want that sort of saccharin nonsense directed at him all the time? Why would He need to be worshipped and praised? My take now is that he doesn't want praise for its own sake. It's that when we feel genuinely grateful and worshipful it means we are doing life right.
Ok - taking the Bible a little bit literally again: It tells us that God knows everything. That before we are born there is a plan for us. This plan cannot be changed. He knows what is in our hearts and minds and what we will do. Where is free will when you believe that ? If someone doesn't believe in God - was that preordained or was it a choice ?

And as for Dante's inferno, fire and brimstone is how the Bible depicts hell. I knew a priest that differed with the church in saying that hell is separation from God. Knowing that he is real and not being able to be with him. He was eventually removed from our church. The idea of hell being a fiery furnace was to frighten people into being good. Just like parents telling a small kid that if he is naughty, the police will come and take him away and lock him up forever. I assume the church has now changed their stance on heaven - seeing that good people can go there too without all requirements being met.
 

Geoff.D

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How do you know which one God meant when he used the word?
That, of course, is totally dependent on the translations of the original text as well! How do we know the correct word to use in the verse was "jealous"?
 

DMNknight

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But this implies that there can be something more good than God if God chooses not to be good. So what then? Is that something else then all of a sudden God? Does it have choice too?
I don't think it does. I think that the simplest explanation, is that Good & Evil are intrinsically tied to the nature of the universe.
That Good and Evil are not binary, they're a scale from Most good to Most Evil... and if you chop out the part of the scale that is Evil, that the scale will simply "grow": to fill the gap.
The "least" good people near the evil side of the scale will be "worse" people than those at the top of the scale.

Therefore, being so close to evil, they may as well be? because they're not THAT good.
So the scale gets chopped in half again and the scale grows again.... perhaps in the other direction or or grows out from the middle.
People could turn to evil because despite being good, they're being targeted for not being good enough... that kinda thing.

Mazlowe's hierarchy of needs indicates that this is the more than likely scenario with people.
 

STS

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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?​
Epicurus

Not sure if it was shared yet :thumbsup:
 

rietrot

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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?​
Epicurus

Not sure if it was shared yet
And the earth is flat. I'm surprised these silly arguments are still doing the rounds. I mostly though people moved on from the 90s when the internet just caught on.
 
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