David B. Hart and the problem of evil

Why do evil and suffering exist if the world is presided over by a God who is all-knowing, all-powerful and perfectly loving? That is the “problem of evil” in a nutshell.  In an earlier post (and in the comments) I explained and argued against two common theistic responses to the problem of evil.  Now I’ll tackle a third response from Eastern Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart.

In the aftermath of the horrific Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, Hart addressed the problem of evil in a widely-read Wall Street Journal article, Tremors of Doubt: What kind of God would allow a deadly tsunami? He later expanded his argument into a second article, Tsunami and Theodicy, and a short book entitled The Doors of the Sea: Where Was God in the Tsunami? Because so many Christians have quoted Hart with enthusiasm (including Barry Arrington and Vincent Torley of UD in recent posts), it’s worth taking a closer look at his argument.

Hart emphatically rejects the idea that God sets out to use evil or suffering as necessary means to a greater good:

There is, of course, some comfort to be derived from the thought that everything that occurs at the level of what Aquinas calls secondary causality—in nature or history—is governed not only by a transcendent providence, but by a universal teleology that makes every instance of pain and loss an indispensable moment in a grand scheme whose ultimate synthesis will justify all things. But consider the price at which that comfort is purchased: it requires us to believe in and love a God whose good ends will be realized not only in spite of—but entirely by way of—every cruelty, every fortuitous misery, every catastrophe, every betrayal, every sin the world has ever known; it requires us to believe in the eternal spiritual necessity of a child dying an agonizing death from diphtheria, of a young mother ravaged by cancer, of tens of thousands of Asians swallowed in an instant by the sea, of millions murdered in death camps and gulags and forced famines. It seems a strange thing to find peace in a universe rendered morally intelligible at the cost of a God rendered morally loathsome.

He sees evil and suffering as things that God works around, not through. They emanate entirely from the “powers” and “principalities” to which our fallen world is in thrall:

The Christian understanding of evil has always been more radical and fantastic than that of any theodicist; for it denies from the outset that suffering, death and evil have any ultimate meaning at all. Perhaps no doctrine is more insufferably fabulous to non-Christians than the claim that we exist in the long melancholy aftermath of a primordial catastrophe, that this is a broken and wounded world, that cosmic time is the shadow of true time, and that the universe languishes in bondage to “powers” and “principalities”–spiritual and terrestrial–alien to God.

And:

In the New Testament, our condition as fallen creatures is explicitly portrayed as a subjugation to the subsidiary and often mutinous authority of angelic and demonic “powers;’ which are not able to defeat God’s transcendent and providential governance of all things, but which certainly are able to act against him within the limits of cosmic time.

This raises an obvious question: why would God create a world in which the Fall, and the resulting evil and suffering, are possible?  Hart says:

God has fashioned creatures in his image so that they might be joined in a perfect union with him in the rational freedom of love. For that very reason, what God permits, rather than violate the autonomy of the created world, may be in itself contrary to what he wills.

But if God chooses to permit evil and suffering, how does he evade responsibility for them?  Hart writes:

But there is no contradiction in saying that, in his omniscience, omnipotence, and transcendence of time, God can both allow created freedom its scope and yet so constitute the world that nothing can prevent him from bringing about the beatitude of his Kingdom.

In other words, as long everything ends well, God is off the hook for permitting temporary evil and suffering.  Yet Hart also wants us to believe that God hates evil and suffering, even of the temporary variety:

…when I see the death of a child I do not see the face of God, but the face of His enemy.

So in Hart’s bizarre world, we have a God who supposedly hates evil and suffering, yet chooses to permit them — and somehow this is all okay because it’s only temporary.  Good will triumph in the end.

Hart continues in this bizarre vein:

And while we know that the victory over evil and death has been won, we know also that it is a victory yet to come, and that creation therefore, as Paul says, groans in expectation of the glory that will one day be revealed. Until then, the world remains a place of struggle between light and darkness, truth and falsehood, life and death;

What sort of omnipotent and loving God, having already “won the victory”, would fail to end evil and suffering immediately?  It makes no sense, and neither does Hart’s argument.

The problem of evil remains as much of a problem as ever for Christians.  Yet there are obvious solutions to the problem that fit the evidence and are perfectly reasonable: a) accept that God doesn’t exist, or b) accept that God isn’t omnipotent, or c) accept that God isn’t perfectly benevolent.  Despite the availability of these obvious solutions, most Christians will choose to cling to a view of God that has long since been falsified.

135 Replies to “David B. Hart and the problem of evil”

  1. keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    Lion IRC,

    The topic of this thread is the problem of evil. As I asked in the OP:

    Why do evil and suffering exist if the world is presided over by a God who is all-knowing, all-powerful and perfectly loving?

    You keep focusing on the behavior of “atheist humans”, as if that were somehow relevant. It’s not. Atheists could be perfect saints, or perfect scoundrels, and the problem of evil would still exist either way.

    The problem of evil applies to God, not to people.  We expect a perfect God to behave perfectly.  We don’t expect perfect behavior from imperfect people.
     

  2. keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    Lion IRC,

    Yes, but only the atheist parent needs to answer the problem of suffering because the buck, (which otherwise stops with God,) in this case, rests with them. They are, if you like, lower case ”g” gods who deliberately procreated a child knowing in advance that there is evil in this world.

    So a man and woman who have a child are responsible for their choice if they are atheists, but not if they are theists?

    What an odd thing to say. You clearly haven’t thought things through.

  3. hotshoe
    Ignored
    says:

    Yeah, but Lion will do anything to avoid the actual subject of this thread, because it impeaches the goodness of his so-called god.  

    So Lion will flail and thrash and attempt to divert attention and commit the Tu Quoque fallacy – anything to avoid looking at god’s evil behavior.  

    You can’t possibly get him to engage with this subject.  His entire worldview will be threatened.  Can’t have that, you know.  

  4. Mike Elzinga
    Ignored
    says:

    He appears to be trying to avoid the topic by changing the subject to “atheists.” He then gets nailed and called out on his attempt at diversion and told by others to redirect his attention back to the topic.

    His response is to double down on his “atheist” diversion and, with sneering chutzpa, accuse others of trying to change the subject.

    This kind of “argumentation” is all too common among these kinds of fundamentalist street preachers. They spend most of their time demonizing anyone who doesn’t hold their sectarian beliefs – in this particular instance, “atheists” – and then they try to conflate an issue, such as the topic of this thread, with the existence of those whom they demonize. They are attempting to inject themselves into other peoples business and segue the topic of conversation onto what they want to preach about.

    There are a couple of programs on the religion channels on the cable network that have cameras following cocky, young, sneering street preachers going around taunting strangers with innuendo; trying to provoke them to anger just so they can preach and illustrate how evil and “lost” their unsuspecting marks are.

    These preacher wannabes are similar to those who show up on campus quads taunting passersby. They are smart-mouthed and just plain stupid. Now they are plying their trade on the internet. This one appears to be just another cookie-cutter example.

    This is what sectarian proselytizing has degenerated to in this country; a bunch of sanctimonious religion peddlers with brass knuckles, a foul-mouthed attitude, and no respect for others or other religions and non-religions. Gotta get a church and a bunch of obedient, brain-washed followers they can keep full of fear and loathing.

  5. Lion IRC
    Ignored
    says:

          keiths wrote : So a man and woman who have a child are responsible
          for their choice if they are atheists, but not if they are theists?

    That is an odd thing to say.

    But note that you are the one saying it not me.

    Putting the word…”so” [you are saying] at the front of a sentence and a question mark at the end is just a lame way of verballing me.

    hotshoe is right. Its exactly a tu quque. (Its not a fallacy because I have accepted that people ARE entitled ask such questions of those responsible for creating/procreating. A tu quoque fallacy of irrelevance would be…oh yeah well you do that bad thing too therefore I dont need to answer for my bad thing. 

    What I am saying is that God has nothing to answer for, for precisely the same reason (atheist) parents have nothing to answer for. Because as keiths already admitted atheist parents think the good will probably outweigh the bad, and that their children will most likely be grateful to have lived. 

    And a few atheists here have acknowledged that there is no problem of suffering to resolve without the prerequisite theist definition of God as omnipotent/able to see the big picture/knows that it will work out to a happy ending. (When Revelation says wipe away every tear, that would include the painful memories of past suffering)  
     
    All I am doing is opening up the paradigm that has atheist parents answering the problem of suffering for themselves.

    And if thats a subject you would rather me drop, then I will. But as I said above, I dont need to defend theodicy accusations against God because I dont perceive any irreconcilable problem and presumably neither do atheist parents feel a need to defend their optional decision to bring children into a world where we have the wonderful and exquisite ability to differentiate between pleasure and pain. 
              

  6. Lion IRC
    Ignored
    says:

    If it were otherwise we would be complaining about
    …the problem of dullness and boredom. 

  7. Mike Elzinga
    Ignored
    says:

    keiths wrote : So a man and woman who have a child are responsible for their choice if they are atheists, but not if they are theists?

    Lion IRC distorts:

    That is an odd thing to say.

    But note that you are the one saying it not me.

    You don’t get to ignore the question mark at the end of keiths’ question and then claim that he is making an assertion. Do you understand the fully automatic, habitual sleaze you are engaging in with that kind of response?

    Theodicy is not an issue for those who have no deities or who accept the natural world as we have come to understand it from centuries of scientific investigation. In that universe, “atheists” and theists alike understand the fact that living organisms are fragile and finite, and subject to the vissitudes of nature.

    That doesn’t make them demons, it doesn’t make them bad, it doesn’t make them depressed, and it doesn’t fill them with fear. Those issues are the common problems with all humans and human societies; but they are problems to be grappled with and solved. Mature people work together to try to make their world better; and there is a great deal of growth and satisfaction in those attempts that make life worth living.

    No mature individual who understands the theodicy issue believes that such a deity is worth following. Such a deity is the very embodiment of some of the worst and most unfair societies that humans have had the misfortune to live in; and mature individuals don’t cowtow to those kinds people or the kinds of societies such people force onto others. Instead, they try to change them. Such a deity is considered just as evil just as such a human would be considered evil. Rulers who rule with arbitrary terror and punishment are not considered good rulers.

    Those kinds of considerations and judgements about what is good and what is evil – in other words, what is moral – have evolved over thousands of years of human history. We no longer think it is moral to burn people at the stake for “heresy.” And we don’t fall in love with or follow people who behave like those deities; we abhor them. Morality doesn’t come from deities; it comes from our willingness to stay in touch with reality and learn how to live with each other and in the natural universe.

    You are fed and protected by a society made up of people who don’t hold your sectarian beliefs. You have no idea of the sacrifices other humans – many of whom don’t particularly care for your beliefs – have made on your behalf. You would do well to learn something about that before you go demonizing “atheists” and others you don’t know. And you would do well to leave your sectarianism inside the doors of your church. Freedom to worship as you please, and how you got that freedom, is something you don’t seem to have learned to appreciate.

  8. keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    Lion IRC,

    Here’s a comment I posted on an earlier “problem of evil” thread:

    It didn’t take long for people to start offering “explanations” of why God allowed Friday’s massacre of innocent children in Newtown, Connecticut.

    Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, says it happened because “we’ve systematically removed God from our schools”. He commented:

    When people say “Why did God let it happen?”, you know, God wasn’t armed, he didn’t go to the school. God will be there, in the form of a lot of people, with hugs and with therapy and a whole lot of ways in which I think he will be involved in the aftermath. Maybe we ought to let him in on the front end and we wouldn’t have to call him to show up when it’s all said and done at the back end.

    I see. So God won’t intervene to prevent a mass killing of innocent children, but he will intervene by sending people to dispense hugs and therapy to the grieving parents afterward. What a great guy.

    Imagine the outrage if we found out in the coming days that there was a person — an acquaintance of the shooter, say — who knew of the shooter’s plans, knew the threat was serious, and yet did nothing to prevent the tragedy, even though he could have intervened at no risk to himself. We’d be justifiably appalled at this person’s moral failing.

    Now suppose this person defends himself by saying “Hey, I wasn’t armed. I didn’t go to the school.” No one would find that defense convincing, yet that is exactly the defense that Huckabee is offering on God’s behalf.

    Huckabee’s God knew exactly what was going to happen — he’s omniscient, after all — yet he did nothing to prevent it, despite the fact that he could have easily done so, at absolutely no risk to himself. Why didn’t he cause the gun to jam? Why didn’t he make the shooter violently ill, so that he couldn’t carry out the murders? Why didn’t he deflect the bullets so that no one was injured or killed? Perhaps he was feeling lazy that day. Not his fault, though — Huckabee reminds us that “God wasn’t armed, he didn’t go to the school.”

    That’s Huckabee’s lame excuse for his God. What is your excuse for your God, Lion?

  9. Pedant Pedant
    Ignored
    says:

    Lion IRC:

     …God as omnipotent/able to see the big picture/knows that it will work out to a happy ending. (When Revelation says wipe away every tear, that would include the painful memories of past suffering)

    How convenient.  Like a lobotomy. 

    …the problem of dullness and boredom. 

    That’s heaven for you.

     

  10. Toronto
    Ignored
    says:

    Lion IRC: Yes, but only the atheist parent needs to answer the problem of suffering because the buck, (which otherwise stops with God,) in this case, rests with them. They are, if you like, lower case ”g” gods who deliberately procreated a child knowing in advance that there is evil in this world. (Some atheists call religion evil.)  

    You have just stated that the atheist parent and God’s actions are identical in this case.

    This leads to the conclusion that God behaves as an atheist would.

  11. DNA_Jock
    Ignored
    says:

    And to the far more worrying conclusion that theists (unlike Gods and atheists) are NOT responsible for their actions.

    Interesting theology, this.

     

  12. Robin
    Ignored
    says:

    Just to chime in on Lion’s misguided attempts at redirecting by way of question begging:

    You say (atheist) humans arent omnipotent but they ARE sufficiently powerful to do what biblical theists otherwise account to God – namely the optional procreation of human life.

    The atheist parent who is akin to a creator ’god’ cant escape the problem of suffering accusation, (levelled by their own suffering child,) by saying…oh well you see I’m not responsible for your existence therefore dont blame me for your suffering.

    The created suffering child asks an identical theodicy question of their creator as the accusation made by counter-apologists against a Creator God. Why did you bring me into a world where I have the sensory ability to differentiate between pleasure and non-pleasure?  

    This is just a bad analogy all around and begs several questions. Let’s pretend for a moment that “(atheist) humans” are sufficiently powerful to “create” life and thus face a problem of bringing a child into a world of suffering. That would be fine if it was an actual comparison with the OP, but the issue is not that a god faces a problem of suffering for the created soul, but rather that such an entity faces a problem of evil in the entire framework of it’s own creation. The two are distinct issues, and the latter is something that no human can ever face. Why? Because either a) there is no such thing as evil or b) we as humans (as opposed to gods) are not sufficiently powerful to vanquish evil. 

    Furthermore, given a world without gods or other supernatural interventions, the atheist – just like all humans – is powerless to contrive an existence of his or her own preferences (unlike, in theory, omnipotent dieties). As such, said atheist must make due with the world presented and live to the best of his or her abilities with laws of the universe that have no particular animosity towards anything. Recognizing that the universe is not “out to impart suffering” on anyone since there is no intelligence directing the motions of said universe, but not being omniscient about how life unfolds, the atheist has no reason to assume any given suffering any given offspring might face or – and this is the most important part – whether said offspring will face any suffering at all. Again, unlike deities who presumably would know better, atheists can’t know a thing about how any given life will unfold given a universe that doesn’t have any particular feelings about anything.

    Thus, the drive to procreate and the gains of taking the opportunity to pass on said atheist’s genes and experiences far exceed the potential disappointments due to unknown sufferings said offspring might face. Further still, since most atheists (as opposed to ignorant conservative theists) realize this, they can – through the understanding of the actual forces of this universe via science – anticipate potential problems said offspring might face and overall reduce the effects of any such hindrances in order to increase the odds of overt success, happiness, and well-being of the offspring.

    Alas that deities seem to be powerless in this respect.

     

     

         

  13. Robin
    Ignored
    says:

    What I am saying is that God has nothing to answer for, for precisely the same reason (atheist) parents have nothing to answer for. Because as keiths already admitted atheist parents think the good will probably outweigh the bad, and that their children will most likely be grateful to have lived.

    Utter nonsense. Anything that would know better is responsible for the outcome. Since atheist parents can’t know what, if any, suffering a given offspring will face, they have no responsibility for any such sufferings. However an omniscient and omnipotent deity would presumably (by definition) not only know better, but actually have the power to prevent such suffering in the first place without stopping creation. Ergo, said deity would be directly responsible for said suffering. Unless, that is, that your “omniscient and omnipotent deity” really has no power over his/her/its own creation – just like atheist humans.

  14. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    I wouldn’t see the equation of atheist parents and God as a derail, but it is misguided. It appears to be coming down on the side of ” … then He is not omnipotent”. Because that’s the problem parents face, of whatever religious stripe. They are not in control of all the parameters. God is supposed (in some religions) to have that power, to control the parameters. For whatever reason, He appears not to be bothered, rendering the could-if-He-wanted-to power academic.

  15. Mike Elzinga
    Ignored
    says:

    Robin writes: Ergo, said deity would be directly responsible for said suffering. Unless, that is, that your “omniscient and omnipotent deity” really has no power over his/her/its own creation – just like atheist humans.

    And here is where the word gaming typically begins. Because the deity is “omniscient” it supposedly knows what humans can’t possibly know; and that “knowledge” includes the reasons for its actions that can’t be explained to the puny minds of humans simply because those puny minds are material and finite.

    Now apply that reasoning to excuse a ruthless dictator. The dictator does what he does because he sees far beyond what any of those puny, rebellious minds of the masses can see. See how easy it is to excuse the actions of a ruthless dictator simply by using the arguments that excuse the deity.

    What the sectarian is implying is that morality comes from deities. Morality doesn’t evolve as humans learn from their own history; morality is absolute and locked in. Deities – and oh, by the way, the spokesmen for deities – can do as they wish because they know all and they set the rules. Therefore heresy is punishable by death because the spokesmen for deities say it is punishable by death because they know what the deity knows.

    The problem, of course, is how can the “spokesmen for deities” know the minds of the deities when it has already been asserted that humans can’t possibly understand what deities know? What is the mechanism for a finite human mind to all of a sudden be able to know what the deity knows and know that it is moral and must be enforced?

    The word game for this process is called revelation; the deity, with its omnipotent power, imparts that knowledge to the human of its choice. A nice game this is, because those humans who weren’t chosen can’t possibly know what transpired between the deity and the chosen one.

    This is the point at which we begin to understand the fundamentally human and political nature of using the threat of deities to control the behaviors of others. If the people you wish to scare into submission to your will begin to realize that you can’t carry out your threats, then you claim to speak for a deity who will get you forever in some neverending afterlife. And you grab a couple of rebels and torture them to death in front of others just to make the point that the deity will do worse than that.

  16. petrushka
    Ignored
    says:

    All Abrahamic religions — Judaism, Christianity, Islam — teach that god is capable of creating and maintaining a form of life that doesn’t include suffering. That what they call heaven or the afterlife.

    To deny this is possible is to deny the most important part of these religions.

    So the problem of pain is to ask why the beforelife is so screwed up. There are all kinds of silly justifications, none of which make any sense, since the majority of souls are never even born alive (succumbing to miscarriage) and never develop any sense of what it is to be alive.

    To say that memories of suffering are wiped out in the afterlife is to deny that they have any use or meaning. 

    The only sensible explanations involve throwing up one’s hands and admitting god’s ways are simply a mystery, beyond human reckoning. Which means religion has exactly zero explanatory power.

  17. Toronto
    Ignored
    says:

    DNA_Jock: And to the far more worrying conclusion that theists (unlike Gods and atheists) are NOT responsible for their actions.

    Exactly, and that’s why they defend an “absolute moral code”.

  18. Mike Elzinga
    Ignored
    says:

    The interesting histories and varieties of religion in the world contain many examples of codes of behavior along with incentives for behaving in “acceptable” ways. Religions don’t all depend on the use of terror of an eternal afterlife in excruciating pain along with priesthoods that are willing to inflict pain in this life as well.

    Hinduism provides an example of a different set of incentives. How one lives one’s life affects how one is reincarnated. Every creature goes through a life of trial and tribulation in a universe built by deities. The responses of those creatures to the circumstances into which they are born prepares them for another round of life as a different person in a different caste, or even as a different creature altogether.

    I have never heard if it is possible for someone to be reincarnated into someone in an entirely different religion with different incentives and different definitions of “acceptable behavior.”

    For example, how would the course of a Hindu’s reincarnations be affected if that person came back as a rigid fundamentalist Christian in the United States? Is that a punishment or a Hindu version of hell? Where could one go from there? Which set of incentives apply?

  19. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    Interesting! One is condemned, for all of eternity, to rail against a theory one barely understands, making the same errors in post after post after post after post … another sect is condemned, for all eternity, to defend said theory. It was that or Groundhog Day!

  20. petrushka
    Ignored
    says:

    As any Hollywood star can tell you, reincarnation means nothing without memory of past lives. Fortunately there’s no shortage of people who can, for a price, revive those memories.

  21. keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung has been reluctant to defend his God against the problem of evil (apart from this weird assertion that rape is not evil), so it’s interesting to see him finally take a stand.

    Mung, to Gregory:

    As for the God of classical theism. In Scripture, God clearly brings about events that we would label evil. Does that make God evil? Not to me.

    Why not, Mung?

    But a “classical theism” that fails to deal with those facts is not something I want to be associated with.

    So I don’t have whatever issues you think I have.

    Ex. 4:11, John 9:1-3

    The first verse Mung refers to doesn’t even address the problem of evil:

    10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” 11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

    Exodus 4:10-12, NIV

    The second verse addresses the problem of evil, but the excuse it offers makes no sense:

    1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

    John 9:1-3, NIV

    God does evil so that he can undo it later and receive credit for it? Sounds kind of like an arsonist who sets fire to an orphanage and then becomes a hero by “rescuing” the children.

    Seriously, Mung? That’s the God you worship?

  22. Mike Elzinga
    Ignored
    says:

    There appears to be a pattern of blame-the-victim in most fundamentalist rationalizations about evil. As near as I can figure from Lion IRC’s tap dancing, he apparently thinks “atheists” have something to do with theodicy. He still hasn’t explained why he dragged “atheists” into the discussion.

    When Todd Akin of Missouri asserted about pregnancies resulting from rape that, “in a ‘legitimate rape’ a woman’s body has ways of shutting that whole thing down,” he was revealing that the underlying sectarian “science” behind the notion of “legitimate rape” was that if a woman got pregnant from a rape, she must have really wanted the sex; the rape was therefore not “legitimate.”

    We got further evidence of that line of thinking when some of the Right Wing members of Congress – those attempting to get rid of Planned Parenthood – asserted that women routinely lie about their health in order to get an abortion.

    And these are people who don’t want to ban assault weapons. They apparently believe that everyone except them are deep-down evil and criminal-minded.

    They are projecting. It’s the fundamentalist fear and loathing that Lee Atwater and his protégé, Karl Rove, learned to exploit for political gain by immersing themselves in those sectarian subcultures. Whatever the deity is allowed to do, its followers are justified in doing also. The evil is in the non-believers.

    That still doesn’t avoid the problem of evil. According to that sectarian dogma, humans were made in the image of their deity. Therefore “rebelliousness” and evil must be part of their deity. Furthermore, the deity was also cruel enough to NOT pass along its own powers of foresight. Yet the deity appears more than willing to punish these humans for being bad.

    A God who could make good children as easily a bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who could have made every one of them happy, yet never made a single happy one; who made them prize their bitter life, yet stingily cut it short; who gave his angels eternal happiness unearned, yet required his other children to earn it; who gave is angels painless lives, yet cursed his other children with biting miseries and maladies of mind and body; who mouths justice, and invented hell — mouths mercy, and invented hell — mouths Golden Rules and foregiveness multiplied by seventy times seven, and invented hell; who mouths morals to other people, and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man’s acts upon man, instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites his poor abused slave to worship him!

    Mark Twain, The Mysterious Stranger

  23. DNA_Jock
    Ignored
    says:

    Leaving aside Todd Akin’s curious take on rape (which I suspect is merely a self-serving misunderstanding of biology, rather than poor theology), I believe Lion’s focus on ‘atheist’ parents is not a taunt.
    As I understand it, Lion’s argument goes as follows:
    If parents choose to bring a child into the world, they bear the responsibility for any suffering that child bears, in the same way that God bears responsibility. They may not be omnipotent, but they can choose to not have children. Thus, by equivocating “Creator”, he equates the choice to bring children into this world (with the attendant risk of suffering) with God’s Creation.
    He has to restrict this to atheist parents, not as a taunt, but because (in his bizarre view) the children of theists arrive by God’s will, NOT as  consequence of the parents’ activities. Theists indulging in intromission are merely asking God to be blessed with a child. God may, in his infinite wisdom, decide to not grant their wish. The reverse situation, although rarer, has been documented. [ggg]
    Lion’s failing is that he simply has not thought through the consequences of “omnipotent, omniscient”. He doesn’t understand that a mortal can say “well, it seemed like a good idea at the time”, a justification that is not available to his God. His analogy fails, spectacularly.

  24. Mike Elzinga
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m not sure how Lion IRC was attempting to conflate “atheists” with his deity. I can state my suspicions; but that is something he has to explain.

    When a sectarian argument involving “atheists” is being used in a discussion of moral standards, there is an extremely high probability that the “atheist” is evil in some way; i.e., the sectarian is usually counting on that understanding among his peers, and that is usually his standard image of “atheists.”

    Many of these sectarian arguments demonizing “atheists” have an underlying image of “atheists” as people with no moral standards (The explicit accusation is, “How can atheists have moral standards if they don’t believe in the one true God or read the Bible?”). Atheists don’t have the same drive to procreate, they don’t love and want children, they don’t have hopes for the future, and they have no reason for living.

    Thus, to use the “atheist” as a comparison with the deity is to suggest that the “atheist” is using some kind of cold, dispassionate reasoning to bring children into the world, knowing full well that the children will likely suffer.

    However, “atheists” do in fact love each other and love children also. “Atheists” have hopes and dreams for a better world; and in societies where most are relatively well off, such hopes and dreams are not unreasonable.

    Despite what we are beginning to suspect about our role in damaging our planet, most people, religious and non-religious, still want children and still think the future can be better. They still enjoy watching the growth and development of new generations. People generally care about making a better world; they care about others and they care about fairness and justice. That is not a bad thing; and most people in a prosperous society only gradually become aware of serious problems emerging in the future. By that time they are already deep into the issues of raising children as well as dealing with aging parents.

    So, right from the beginning, Lion IRC’s use of “atheist” appears to carry the same old sectarian innuendo that demonizes them. To attempt to argue that “atheists” (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) choose to bring children into a world of pain and suffering is to demonize them. Thus, for a presumed “atheist” to raise the issues of theodicy is hypocrisy on the part of the atheist; the “atheist” is accusing the sectarian deity of doing exactly what “atheists” do all the time.

    My guess is that Lion IRC’s argument is both a demonizing of the “atheist” (already “known” to be a demon in his circles) and calling the “atheist” a hypocrite at the same time. It is simply the implied accusation of “pot calling kettle black;” and he is using it as an excuse to avoid answering the issues of theodicy.

    If that is what he is trying to argue, it is a breathtakingly stupid argument.

  25. petrushka
    Ignored
    says:

    Non believers have children for all kinds of reasons. Believers have been commanded to reproduce.

  26. Lion IRC
    Ignored
    says:

     

    Thankyou to DNA_Jock for hitting the nail on the head.

     DNA_Jock said: 

    ‘’…I believe Lion’s focus on ‘atheist’ parents is not a taunt…’’

    ‘’….If parents choose to bring a child into the world, they bear the responsibility for any suffering that child bears, in the same way that God bears responsibility. They may not be omnipotent, but they can choose to not have children.

    ‘’…he equates the choice to bring children into this world (with the attendant risk of suffering) with God’s Creation…’’ 

    After this great summary of my point – the equivalence of parent and Creator and the ability to choose whether it will, (on balance,) be worthwhile to take responsibility for a new life to coming into a world where the opposite of pleasure exists, DNA_Jock then strays off onto stuff I didn’t talk about and views I don’t hold.  (I actually have a well-developed resolution to the theology of omnipotence/omniscience. No paradox there.)  

    But the main point DNA_Jock gets right is that, unable to refer to God, the person who calls themselves an atheist must answer the problem of pain.

    The available answers such a person can tell their enquiring (created) child are;

    1.  Don’t blame me.  I had no choice but to bring you into this world. (Unable to prevent it.)

    2.  Don’t blame me. I didn’t know about the existence of suffering/evil. (Ignorant)

    3.  Both of the above. So don’t blame me.

    4.  Life isn’t all bad. Most suffering is self-inflicted. Pain is a biological necessity. The good will probably outweigh the bad, you will most likely be grateful to have lived. (Bigger overall picture)

    5.  Suffering is a law of the universe. Nature – red in tooth and claw. We are just machines for propagating our selfish DNA. Suck it up kid!

     

  27. Lion IRC
    Ignored
    says:

    @Mike Elzinga

    I am not demonizing atheists. Why do you keep on with the persecution complex? I have specifically stated the opposite – God is a loving creator. Atheist parents are (participant) loving creators. If there is a so-called problem of pain I assume that ANY loving being would have a perfectly good explanation to offer the child that asks…why did you create me when you knew there is stuff going on in this world like robberies, wars, toxic pollution, rape, buildings which cant withstand earthquakes…..etc. etc.    

       
       

  28. Mike Elzinga
    Ignored
    says:

    That is a peculiar “denial” in light of what you have just posted.

    Your previous comment explicitly confirms exactly what we were saying; you have presented the classic fundamentalist caricature of “atheists” that demonizes them in order to change the subject and avoid addressing the real question.

    That is what you were called out on right at your first post on this thread.

    And you still can’t explain why secular law has evolved and is now more moral than the morals of your deity and its followers in the past.

    As a simple example, perhaps you might like to explain why we no longer burn people at the stake for “heresy.” Why was burning Giordano Bruno or Michael Servetus at the stake “moral” then and not now?

    On the other hand, if you don’t think secular law has evolved to be more moral, then you might want to justify bringing back the death penalty for “heresy.”

    As has been pointed out by keiths, you do not appear to have thought through the implications of omniscience and omnipotence. If we don’t excuse dictators like Hitler for executing millions of people, why should we excuse a deity?

    Morality evolves. Do you agree or not?

  29. Toronto
    Ignored
    says:

    Lion IRC: But the main point DNA_Jock gets right is that, unable to refer to God, the person who calls themselves an atheist must answer the problem of pain.

    Yes, God has to take responsibility for his actions and atheists have to take responsibility for their actions, which begs the question, “Why don’t theists have to accept that responsibility?”

  30. Lion IRC
    Ignored
    says:

    Mike Elzinga wrote : …you have presented the classic fundamentalist caricature of “atheists”  that demonizes them in order to change the subject and avoid addressing the real question.

    ‘’the classic fundamentalist caricature of atheists’’ WHAT? I’m sorry you want to keep talking about feeling demonized.

    Mike Elzinga wrote : That is what you were called out on right at your first post on this thread.

    You haven’t stopped talking about being demonized since I got here.

    Mike Elzinga wrote : And you still can’t explain why secular law has evolved and is now more  moral than the morals of your deity and its followers in the past.

    What do you mean…’’still cant explain’’? Are you confusing me with an answer you are waiting for from someone else? What does your evolving secular law issue have to do with me?

    Mike Elzinga wrote : As a simple example, perhaps you might like to explain why we no longer  burn people at the stake for “heresy.” Why was burning Giordano Bruno or Michael Servetus at  the stake “moral” then and not now?

    Why should I have to explain the immoral actions of someone I dont know to you –  another person I don’t know? I haven’t advocated the burning of anyone at the stake. Take it up with the people who think burning someone at the stake is or ever was moral. I don’t do apologetics for strawman arguments

    Mike Elzinga wrote : On the other hand, if you don’t think secular law has evolved to be more moral, then you might want to justify bringing back the death penalty for “heresy.”

    Again with the evolving secular law thingy. What’s up with that? My morality derives from Calvary and consists in…thou shalt not kill and judge not lest ye be judged, and only those without sin can cast the first stone, and fix the log in your own eye first before getting all preachy about the spec in someone elses, etc. etc. etc.

    Mike Elzinga wrote : As has been pointed out by keiths, you do not appear to have thought through the implications of omniscience and omnipotence.

    I wish you would spend more time reading what I said and less time repeating what someone else said. (I already replied to keiths about that post.)

    Omnipotence and omniscience are not paradoxical in any way. In fact, omniscience isn’t anything more than a sub-set of omnipotence. The ability to do one thing (to know) is not in competition with the concept of omnipotence.

    By definition, God would not be referred to as omnipotent if He DIDN’T have the ability to know anything He wanted, whenever He wanted, for as long or as short a time as He wanted.  

     

  31. Mike Elzinga
    Ignored
    says:

    YOU are the one who keeps insisting on injecting “atheists” into the discussion. It happens to be one of the standard rapping points of fundamentalists; and it is a deliberate diversion. You are not original; and I am simply calling you out on it. We are all telling you to stay on the topic of the thread if you insist on participating.

    “Men of God” condemned Michael Servetus to burn at the stake. A “man of God” chose green, slow-burning wood to make the torture of Servetus last longer. A “man of God,” John Calvin, was one of the men who condemned Servetus to death.

    The Massachusetts Bay Colony was formed by “men of God.” Salem MA was run by “men of God” who condemned witches to death; and they were finally stopped by outside secular authority.

    Many modern democratic societies since the Enlightenment have evolved better and fairer moral standards by learning from history. The secular people who contributed to this evolution learned from the abuses, by “men of God,” of “moral standards” these sectarians claimed came from their deity.

    When a dictator looks upon the people he rules, decides that he doesn’t like the way they think or act, and kills them by the thousands or millions, our current moral standards lead us to recoil in horror and disapproval. What exempts a deity from such moral outrage and disapproval? If a person wouldn’t follow a dictator who kills millions of people at his whim, why would that same person follow a deity who has done even worse?

    If a person knew that a shooter armed with a AR-15 assault rifle was headed for an elementary school to kill children, and if that person not only knew, but had the means to stop the shooter with no harm to himself yet did nothing, how would should we judge that person’s moral decision and behavior?

    When anyone has the foresight and means to prevent a disaster with no harm to himself but does nothing, how are we to rate that person’s moral standards.?

    So the issue of omniscience and omnipotence has relevance here. If one can see ahead and prevent disaster without incurring any harm to oneself, why shouldn’t such a person do so?

    The problem of evil – the issue that you are attempting to avoid regarding your deity – is part of the chain of realization by humans that deities are the creation of humans. They were projections of earlier human emotions onto nature that ultimately came to be exploited by rulers for the control of other humans.

    An enlightened society that learns from the atrocities of history has a better chance of working out cooperative relationships rather than falling into sectarian warfare over who is the favorite of the deity.

    Morality evolves; it is not handed down from deities to humans. You, in particular, do not get your morality from your deity. You live in a secular society that no longer allows practices that were once common and considered “moral” in your religion

  32. timothya
    Ignored
    says:

    Warning: off-topic meander follows . . . .

    Sorry to interfere with people’s trains of thought. It occurs to me that it would be a useful addition to this site if there were a place where people without posting rights could suggest topics for discussion in the main thread-stream.

    For example, it has occurred to me that the enthusiastic applause by the UD proponents for the “85%+ of the human genome is functional” ENCODE hyperhype represents a fundamental contradiction to their equally enthusiastic support for “hills/islands of functionality in an unbridgeable sea of non-functionality”.

    Perhaps I am misunderstanding the arguments involved, but if genome functionality actually were at the 85%+ level, then surely that must mean that almost any base sequence in the genome arising from any cause is likely to be “functional” – even sequences constructed randomly (hint, hint). This suggests to me that the non-fitness sea is very shallow, or is made up of standing fitness waves, or some other equally specious metaphor, or even that the sea/landscape metaphor is not worth its washing-up water.

    I’ll shut up now . . . <withdraws, tugging forelock and singing, “I have a little list, I have a little list . . .”>
     

  33. keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    Lion IRC,

    Whether by incomprehension or dishonesty, you are avoiding the real issue here. You argue for

    …the equivalence of parent and Creator and the ability to choose whether it will, (on balance,) be worthwhile to take responsibility for a new life to coming into a world where the opposite of pleasure exists…

    But parent and Creator are not equivalent in that regard. A human parent is neither omniscient nor omnipotent. The Creator, according to you, is both. The difference is crucial to the question of responsibility, as I have already explained (and will explain again).

    Consider a child born to loving parents in a well-to-do suburb. Her parents die in an auto accident and she is sent to live with a relative who abuses her emotionally and physically. After a miserable childhood, she runs away to the city where she gets hooked on heroin and resorts to prostitution to support her habit. She contracts AIDS from an infected john. She dies, alone and despondent, in the filthy corner of a heroin den, wishing that she had never been born.

    Her parents did not know, when they conceived her, how her life would turn out. They expected that she would most likely have the life of a typical suburban child. They did not know that they would die and leave her orphaned. They did not know that she would be abused at the hands of a relative, or that she would run away and become a drug addict and prostitute. They did not know that she would die so young. They knew her life would involve some suffering — whose doesn’t? — but they thought that it was most likely, on balance, to be a good life. Had they known how much she would suffer, they would have chosen not to have a child.

    In short, they were good people who made the best decision they could, given their limited knowledge, judgment and power.

    Your God, on the other hand, knew the whole tragic story in every detail before he even created the child. He knew the horror that was coming. He could have averted it in many different ways, but he rejected all of them. He deliberately decided to put the child through hell.

    He had the knowledge and the power to avert a catastrophe, yet he chose not to. How can you, or anyone, describe such a God as “perfectly loving”?

  34. DNA_Jock
    Ignored
    says:

    Lion,

    Thank you for confirming that I had accurately characterized your argument. I don’t think that anyone reading this thread would be deceived into thinking that I agreed with it.

    Regarding your pentalemma: I’ll take door #4, Monty, “The good will probably outweigh the bad“.

    However, when I wrote:

    Lion’s failing is that he simply has not thought through the consequences of “omnipotent, omniscient”. He doesn’t understand that a mortal can say “well, it seemed like a good idea at the time”, a justification that is not available to his God. His analogy fails, spectacularly.

    You responded:

    DNA_Jock then strays off onto stuff I didn’t talk about and views I don’t hold.  (I actually have a well-developed resolution to the theology of omnipotence/omniscience. No paradox there.) 

    All that you have offered up here is to state that omnipotence and omniscience are not mutually exclusive!?! Nobody has asserted otherwise. We have all pointed out (with examples, even) that an “omnipotent, omniscient” God cannot use the justification “it seemed like a good idea at the time” that is available to parents (whether atheist, theist or deist) after a bad outcome. You have failed to address this point, spectacularly, hilariously.

     

  35. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    It occurs to me that it would be a useful addition to this site if there were a place where people without posting rights could suggest topics for discussion in the main thread-stream.

    You could post such requests to the “moderation” topic. I’ll move your post and my reply there, after you have had enough time to read it.

    If you would like to start an ENCODE thread, you should now be able to do so. I have given you author privileges. Under the “NEW” on the top of the page, select “POST”. Since you seem to be mainly asking questions, your topic could be mainly a question (and perhaps a link or two), with the hope that others will have answers or at least good comments.

  36. timothya
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil

    Thanks for the response.

    The “Moderate” menu entry is not exactly the place I would have gone looking for this site’s suggestion box. That is why I am suggesting that there should be a top-level entry called “The Suggestion Box”, or perhaps “Macquarie Island”.

    Thanks for granting me posting rights, but I don’t think this meets the requirement. I am just suggesting that there should be a place where armwavers like me can ask questions or suggest ideas and people with brains the size of a planet can explain them.

  37. petrushka
    Ignored
    says:

    Responsibility implies having the ability to make a difference. Humans have a limited ability to improve the world and reduce suffering, and over time they have invented agriculture and medicine and eliminated slavery.

    God has the ability to eliminate suffering, as evidenced by the existence of heaven (which all theists accept). So why does the Abrahamic god subject people and animals to tortures that resemble a most sadistic form of fraternity initiation?

  38. Robin
    Ignored
    says:

    Thus, to use the “atheist” as a comparison with the deity is to suggest that the “atheist” is using some kind of cold, dispassionate reasoning to bring children into the world, knowing full well that the children will likely suffer.

    However, “atheists” do in fact love each other and love children also. “Atheists” have hopes and dreams for a better world; and in societies where most are relatively well off, such hopes and dreams are not unreasonable.

    (snip)

    Your post is a better phrasing of what I was trying to get across. Nicely put!

  39. Robin
    Ignored
    says:

    I brought up that issue of omniscience and omnipotence earlier and Lion offered no rebuttal. I can only assume at this point that Lion recognizes the defeat of his argument, but refuses to admit such.

  40. Mike Elzinga
    Ignored
    says:

    It appears that everyone here recognizes the basic issue except Lion. Either he is clueless about the issue of omniscience and omnipotence, or he is trying to segue the discussion into a sectarian script about the nature of people who question his sectarian dogma (i.e., “atheists”).

    If he is following the usual script of attempting to proselytizing, his reason for that jarring insertion of “atheists” into the discussion is related his sectarian view of anyone who recognizes the inconsistencies in theological dogma.

    He began his “argument” with an obvious segue, “If I put myself in the mindset of an atheist… .” He also injected “(atheist)” into a sentence he copied from keiths; and then he attempted to frame his answer as an argument about “atheists.”

    Most of these proselytizing sectarians have a set of scripted beliefs about people who question religious dogma. In their script, such people “fear” the deity they are questioning; they “fear the Gospel or the Word.” They are demons recoiling from the “judgment” that will come down on them from that deity. The sectarians will attempt to lead into that point by accusing those who object to their “argument” as being “defensive” or “paranoid.” That is the script for how to recognize “haters of God.”

    Everyone here has stated clearly and repeatedly the central issue along with clear examples. What Lion is missing – or is attempting to bend into a scripted narrative that comports with his sectarian beliefs about “atheists” – is that these questions are key steps in recognizing the stamp of human thinking on the purported characteristics of deities.

    Mark Twain’s biting description of a grotesque monster of a deity is an indictment of human folly and unfairness that gets projected onto a deity and used as an excuse for the continuation of that behavior. It is an articulation of the behaviors of sanctimonious sectarian leaders who seek to dominate others, and who are every bit as evil as the projections these sectarians foist onto others.

    There are millions of people who don’t view of practice religion this way. But those people are often portrayed as “compromisers” or “corrupted” because they don’t buy into the standard fundamentalist ideas about the nature of deities. This is not just the case with Christianity; similar conflicts between sectarian fundamentalists and between fundamentalists and secular society and the more moderate religious folk exist in other religions and cultures as well.

    Lion IRC doesn’t seem to want this to be a discussion about the problem of evil or about how people come to recognize the stamp of human thinking on the characteristics of deities. Fundamentalist sectarians want the discussion framed in a way that makes it look like demon “atheists” recoiling from the shining light of the sectarian Gospel.

    It doesn’t appear that he has really thought about those issues of omniscience and omnipotence in the presence of impending disasters. In his world, “Freethinkers” and “atheists” are bad and must be kept away from children.

  41. Robin
    Ignored
    says:

    Most of these proselytizing sectarians have a set of scripted beliefs about people who question religious dogma. In their script, such people “fear” the deity they are questioning; they “fear the Gospel or the Word.” They are demons recoiling from the “judgment” that will come down on them from that deity. The sectarians will attempt to lead into that point by accusing those who object to their “argument” as being “defensive” or “paranoid.” That is the script for how to recognize “haters of God.”

    Fear or hate, but yeah, that’s pretty much spot-on in my experience.  I once got caught up in a many month debate with a creationist who insisted that my rejection of his claims indicated I must strongly despise his god. He never did grasp the very simple concept that a person can very easily discuss a concept that he or she does not actual subscribe to. I mean, I’ve never been to the moon and don’t particularly believe the old folk legends, but that doesn’t mean I can’t grasp the issues surrounding it being made of cheese.

    And that’s Lion’s whole schtick it seems as well. Somehow his “atheists” strawmen are bound by (and recognize they are bound by) some godly-ghost thing that they don’t believe in. It makes no sense to me and on the face of it comes across as a perfectly obvious begged question.

    But hey, I’m not the one trying to rationalize a belief in something that is supposed to be the basis of my being.

  42. petrushka
    Ignored
    says:

    How else do you get generations of people to believe something that doesn’t make sense and has no evidence? the early believers encountered the same problems that contemporary believers face, so they invented the notion that disbelievers are mentally defective or have been tampered with by evil spirits.

    Now this becomes interesting. I have a schizophrenic nephew who has a really high IQ. He can and does argue that his view of the world is every bit as valid as mine. He understands the “normal” view but rejects it.

    I have to think that there is some similarity here with the way religious people view the world. Except that most believers do not have an organic problem and are able to work and support themselves.

    But it’s interesting that people can through cultural conditioning accept a worldview that is impervious to evidence. 

  43. Lion IRC
    Ignored
    says:

    DNA_Jock wrote : All that you have offered up here is to state that omnipotence and omniscience are not mutually exclusive!?! Nobody has asserted otherwise

    Yes they have!

    Robin wrote : I brought up that issue of omniscience and omnipotence earlier and Lion offered no rebuttal. I can only assume at this point that Lion recognizes the defeat of his argument, but refuses to admit such.

    There is nothing to rebut. And nothing to admit defeat about. Our ability to detect the absence of pleasure and differentiate the causes thereof is not a counter-apologetic – ITS A FACTUAL REALITY and one which makes the no-God hypothesis (atheology) ridiculous.

    Don’t you remember Omnipotence contradiction alleged in the Op?

    Keiths asserts that resolving the alleged incompatibility requires one of the following necessary conclusions.
    A) God doesn’t exist
     B) Accept that God isn’t omnipotent,
     C) God isn’t loving

    DNA_Jock wrote : God cannot use the justification “it seemed like a good idea at the time”

    Of course He can.  What He thinks is a good idea and what we think is a good idea arent necessarily identical…especially when, unlike Him, we dont see the bigger picture. 

    The child sitting in a dentists chair (because they didnt obey one of their parents’ten commandments – brush their teeth) doesnt necessarily think going to the dentist is a good idea. (They might even think the pain of needles and drilling a theodicy their parents hasnt explained sufficiently) But with the later benefit of hindsight that child will agree it all worked out OK in the end.

    I note that while everyone is accusing me of trying to change the subject away from God and onto parents – yes I AM asking atheist parents who dont think God exists – that atheists here fall into two camps;

    1. Those offering the same theodicy resolution as theists – better to have lived than not. On the whole life IS a good idea. Trust, that it will all work out for the best. 

    2. Those who cant answer their childs theodicy complaints and plead that only God has sufficient power to qualify as the Creator where the theodicy buck stops.

  44. Lion IRC
    Ignored
    says:

    Mike Elzinga on January 7, 2013 at 7:39 pm said:

    It appears that everyone here recognizes the basic issue except Lion. Either he is clueless about the issue of omniscience and omnipotence, or he is trying to segue the discussion into a sectarian script about the nature of people who question his sectarian dogma (i.e., “atheists”).

    Perhaps it will be much easier if I talk to everyone else via you Mike Elzinga and you can then speak on everyone elses behalf paraphrasing, explaining and repeating. 

    And since nobody here (including you) has demonstrated any logical inconsistency between God’s omnipotence and our ability to recognize pain, I am just going to have to assume that special pleading is all you got.

    Why exactly is it God’s fault that we construct buildings which cant withstand earthquakes and drive cars at 60 MPH expecting them never to crash? Why is it OK for humans to drop atomic bombs claiming that the end justifies the means but the Canaanites cant attack the Amalekites? 
     
       

      

  45. Toronto
    Ignored
    says:

    Lion IRC,

    DNA_Jock wrote : God cannot use the justification “it seemed like a good idea at the time”

    Lion IRC: Of course He can.  What He thinks is a good idea and what we think is a good idea arent necessarily identical…especially when, unlike Him, we dont see the bigger picture.

    If god “knows” everything, then he “knows” the outcome of any decision he makes,  therefore, he cannot use the term “oops”! 🙂

     

  46. Toronto
    Ignored
    says:

    Lion IRC Why exactly is it God’s fault that we construct buildings which cant withstand earthquakes and drive cars at 60 MPH expecting them never to crash?

    We are not faulting “imperfect man”, we are faulting a “perfect” god.

    How does a “perfect god” not know the future yet at the same time deliver an accurate prophecy?

    Your god knew Noah would have to build the boat long before Noah was born, unless…,  god is not timeless and all-knowing.

     

  47. keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    Lion IRC,

    When will you address the real issue?

  48. Lion IRC
    Ignored
    says:

    The real issue is that parents (like God) deliberately choose to bring people into a world where temporary suffering is likely/possible/probable.

    That is a question which can be asked by the procreated, sentient offspring of ANY sentient prior cause of their coming into existence.  A personal Creator / parent.

  49. Lion IRC
    Ignored
    says:

    God does not HAVE to do or know anything if He chooses.

    He does not HAVE to know what Noah will or wont do.

    If God had no ability to create beings with free will then God would not meet the definition – omnipotent.  

    It is precisely Gods omnipotence which ENABLES Him to rest assured that everything will turn out for the best in the end. 
    Who else BUT an omnipotent God can afford to sit back and see where free will might lead?

    Who else but an omnipotent God can provide an afterlife in which people say…WOW this is so fantastic, I cant even remember that ”blink-of-an-eye” suffering I experienced in life.  

        

  50. petrushka
    Ignored
    says:

    Parents can anticipate the possibility of suffering, but god both anticipates and causes suffering. With an omniscient and omnipotent being, nothing happens that is not directly caused by this being.

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