If there is a God, why is there evil?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.

Post Number:#16  Postby MyshiningOne » March 11th, 2007, 9:06 pm

captain_crunk wrote:My guess is simply due to free will (natural disasters, obviously, don't really have much to do with human free will; as for natural disasters, I think they happen because, although God created everything and whatnot, he lets the world to itself in some aspects to function without his direct control).
I've pondered this myself as well. What do you think?


Well, that is true. I think God lets things happen for reasons we cannot comprehend. It seems cruel to us, but of course, we can't totally understand the wheel of time either.
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you smart, it's knowing what you don't know.
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Re: God's existence

Post Number:#17  Postby MyshiningOne » March 12th, 2007, 12:45 am

sergioakaskyler wrote:The existence of a God does not necessarily mean the existence of a conscious (as we define it) being, much less an all good and benevolent (as we define it) being.
The spiritual world, if it exists, could not, or at least should not, (if we are to have confidence in our abilities of reason for thinking of a higher or separate level of existence) contain the same kind (to say the least) of consciousness as we would expect in the physical realm. Otherwise, if we are not to be so bold as to believe we can logically explain things of the spiritual world, then there is no way we could or should ever try to explain any kind of "conscious" thought or activity of God or any other spiritual being.


I always say the same thing. People tend to
interpret the spiritual realm in human terms, and
that is normal, since we can't think of it any other way. But we can't be arrogant about the matter, since, if there is a God, He chooses to allow us
to know certain things, and those things are set
apart from the spiritual realm. Some people act like
they know what heaven is going to be like, even though they have never been there. Some even go so far as to insinuate that that they know more about
what God approves of or disapproves of, and that we must accept their beliefs just because they say they are true.
It's not what you know that makes
you smart, it's knowing what you don't know.
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Post Number:#18  Postby nopoff » March 18th, 2007, 2:47 pm

I'm thinking its a yin-yang thing. You have to have bad if you're going to have good and you have to have good if you're going to have bad. Otherwise, you would not be able to distinguish the two nor would you be able to join them. They each power the other. Cause you can be in light and be empowered and the same goes for being in the dark. Depends on how you look at it. I think...
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Post Number:#19  Postby bellybuttonmonkeypoo » March 20th, 2007, 7:08 pm

The reason there is evil is a need for balence. God wants man to have choice so if there's no evil what choices are there really. As for natural diasters and bad things happen to good poeple is to test them you are only truely good or faithful when you came still be you even in adversity
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Re: If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post Number:#20  Postby MyshiningOne » March 20th, 2007, 7:12 pm

captain_crunk wrote:
MyshiningOne wrote:Do we even exist? Why or why not?


Obviously we DO in fact exist otherwise we'd be unable to ask the question as to whether we exist or not. However as for proof that we exist, I don't know that we'll ever really prove it. Descartes was right on with the whole "I think therefore I am" thing. That's about as close to a definitive answer as we can get, I think.


I was joking about what caletur9 said about
God not caring if God exists. I thought that was hilarious so I had to comment on that.

You made a good point, by the way.
It's not what you know that makes
you smart, it's knowing what you don't know.
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Re: If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post Number:#21  Postby YungMunkee » November 18th, 2007, 5:24 pm

Floyd wrote:If there is a God, why is there evil? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why is there so much needless suffering in the world, from natural disasters and such? Why would a loving God do this?


Why hasn't anyone question what Evil and Good really are? Perspective. Try that one. When the fanatic Muslim destroys himself and dozens of other people, he does it because he BELIEVES that by killing others for his Jihad, he is doing good and his family and himself will be spiritually rewarded. All we see is that it must be evil for him to kill others, which in itself is an absolute evil, my meaning being an idea of evil that is universally accepted by all, kind of a paradox now that I mention it.

On the other hand, someone walking down the street might happen upon a man begging for money, he doesn't give the man money, and to the one witness of the interaction, it is seen as mean or unsympathetic, a borderlining evil thing to do. Whereas the man who refused the beggar money might not have done so because he believes that by not allowing the beggar to lower himself to ask for money he will realize that he is better than that, and perhaps seek a more "stable" means of collecting money, like a job. That would be a good thing, the man was trying to inspire the beggar to do good for himself.
Evil and Good are only perspectives...for the most part.
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Post Number:#22  Postby Patrarch » November 21st, 2007, 11:40 am

This question is basically the problem of evil, and I see nobody has formalized it for argument so here it is:

(1)There is an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent God.
(2)If there is a 3 O God, then he would know about evil(or suffering) (omniscience), have the power to stop it (omnipotence), and want to stop it (omnibenevolence).
(3)Therefore, there would be no evil(suffering)
(4)However, there is evil(suffering) in the world
(C)Therefore, there is no omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent God.

The problem of evil only effects the Christian idea of a 3 O God, and has no bearing on a deist creator. The only way to refute the argument is to attack claim (4), which some have attempted to do. However, I don't think that rationally one can deny the fact that- whatever word you want to use- evil, "bad things," etc, DO exist in this world. Sure there are culturally and subjective "goods" and "evils," however, is there really an relativism to child molestation? The holocaust? Pointless wars? Aids epidemics? Famine, disease, natural disasters, children starving to death, etc? I think there are plenty of examples of ideas and events which contain no relativism, that we all can agree on are "evil," "negative," etc. I prefer to substitute the word "suffering" in for evil, because it makes a lot more sense. Evil is more of a term used in the context of religion that came about in the genealogy of morality.
The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success.
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Post Number:#23  Postby kyle22 » December 13th, 2007, 9:53 am

Good people suffer and die very frequently. If there was an all-loving god, then there wouldn't be Katrina, the Holocaust, and natural disasters.
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Problem of Evil

Post Number:#24  Postby OTavern » January 27th, 2008, 9:41 pm

Your formal statement of the argument is one possible way to present it.
1)There is an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent God.
(2)If there is a 3 O God, then he would know about evil(or suffering) (omniscience), have the power to stop it (omnipotence), and want to stop it (omnibenevolence).
(3)Therefore, there would be no evil(suffering)
(4)However, there is evil(suffering) in the world
(C)Therefore, there is no omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent God.


However, I would question your conclusion that the only way it can be refuted is to attack #4. Also, I would question your equating evil with suffering. Suffering may actually be a good since it may lead to betterment of individuals. Equating the two makes your conclusion quite false.

The problem of evil only effects the Christian idea of a 3 O God, and has no bearing on a deist creator. The only way to refute the argument is to attack claim (4), which some have attempted to do.


It is possible to reformulate your argument in this way to arrive at quite a different conclusion

(1) There is an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent God.
(2) A 3 O God is not bounded by time or space.
(3) If a 3 O God exists, he exists outside of time and space.
(4) Evil (human suffering) exists only as a temporary condition within time and space.
(5) If there is a 3 O God, then he knows about evil (or suffering) because of his omniscience, has the power to stop it because of his omnipotence, and wills to stop it because of his omnibenevolence.
(6) Since evil exists within time and space, its existence can be ended in time and space.
(7) A 3 O God could allow temporary evil (suffering) if its existence in time and space also allowed the 3 O God to bring about a greater good outside of time and space.
(C) Therefore, a 3 O God could allow temporary evil (suffering) to exist.
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If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post Number:#25  Postby Dewey » February 1st, 2008, 5:45 pm

Otavern has offered an argument for the justification of God in response to Patrarch's presentation of the "problem of evil". The problem asserts there can be no good and perfect God if He effects or permits evil and suffering. Otavern's argument is one of the many defending arguments, termed "theodicies" advanced by philosophers over the years.

Nowhere can there be more rationalizing than in religious discussion, particularly in discussion of the problem of evil. There's lots of of good solid reasoning of course, but we should admit we often think from, rather than to, our opinions. My bias is toward the atheistic side. Here is some, possibly biased, criticism of Otavern's argument and of theodicies in general.

The theodicy cited by Otavern asserts in effect that what we consider evil may serve a useful purpose in some other space or time ruled over by God but not known by us. My reaction is OK but then His good end, the "useful purpose, is attained by bad means, our evil deeds and suffering. I, for one, have to doubt His love for us when He uses us in that way. Also, it should be noted there are arguments that any spatial unlocatedness of God prevents Him from being the creator of the universe.

A general problem with all theodicies is stated as follows:

"If a theodicy were true, it would completely
nullify morality. If a theodicy were true,
then all evil events, including human actions,
can be somehow rationalized as permitted or
affected by God, and therefore there can no longer be such a thing as 'evil' values, even for a murderer."
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Re: If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post Number:#26  Postby OTavern » February 2nd, 2008, 1:35 am

Dewey wrote:A general problem with all theodicies is stated as follows:

"If a theodicy were true, it would completely
nullify morality. If a theodicy were true,
then all evil events, including human actions,
can be somehow rationalized as permitted or
affected by God, and therefore there can no longer be such a thing as 'evil' values, even for a murderer."


Simply because evil can be transformed to a greater good in no way nullifies evil. There are some very clear examples from our own experiences. Learning from mistakes is one. I have learned many important lessons from my mistakes. Does that mean the mistakes were not mistakes? No, they were definitely mistakes. Did these lead to my learning important lessons, thereby making me a better person than I otherwise would have been? Were the mistakes effective in making me better at decision making so that I continually avoid similar mistakes in the future? Yes. Does that mean the mistakes were not really mistakes? There is no reason for redefining the concept - mistakes remain mistakes.

Here is an example: Let's say when I was 17 years old, I ran a stop sign narrowly missing another vehicle where occupants of both vehicles could have been killed. That mistake led to my being a much more careful driver so that I became accident free for the rest of my years. Did I make a mistake when I was 17? Yes! Did that lead to learning an important life changing lesson? Yes! So am I justified in saying my mistake was not really a mistake? No, that would be a silly misinterpretation of the concept "mistake."

Same with the "evil - good" paradigm. Just because evil can lead to good or be transformed into good does NOT make the evil - as a result - a good. The evil remains evil, just as the mistake remains a mistake even if it led to learning a lesson.

Suppose I had actually killed someone by running a stop sign while drunk and God thereby used the incident to work a change in me so that I became an effective advocate against drinking and driving. Does that thereby make my killing the accident victim a "good" thing? Sorry I fail to see that. It remains an evil act.

He permitted me to freely act in an evil way, but used the result to bring about - with my assent - a great good, a permanent effective moral change in me.
The evil act remains evil even if a great good was the result.

Your conclusion that "therefore there can no longer be such a thing as 'evil'" is not a valid one and merely muddles the entire issue.
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Re: If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post Number:#27  Postby OTavern » February 2nd, 2008, 1:57 am

Dewey wrote:Also, it should be noted there are arguments that any spatial unlocatedness of God prevents Him from being the creator of the universe.


I also can't understand this one. I am the creator of my own thoughts. Do you mean I can't be because I am not located in my thoughts? Do you mean that I can only possibly create my thoughts if I am located in my thoughts? I can't think a thought unless I am a thought?

What if the entire universe is akin to a "thought" of God. Do you mean that in order to be the Creator of the universe God has to first "think" Himself in the universe - to "locate" Himself in it?

Traditionally, God has always been conceived, necessarily, as transcendent to the universe - to be outside of space and time; in relationship to the universe as a thinker is to a thought. Where did you get this "unlocatedness" concept?

Does an author of a story have to write himself into it as a character in order to write it? Is an artist compelled to physically "locate" himself in the painting in order to create it?
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If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post Number:#28  Postby Dewey » February 3rd, 2008, 5:29 pm

Otavern, thanks for the two postings responding to mine.

Before getting to them, I'd like to make it clear that my religious criticism is intended to apply only to the use of reasoning and logic to support religious beliefs. I respect and don't mean to attack the beliefs based purely on faith.

Concerning your posting on the general problem with all theodicies:

I quoted the conclusion of the philosopher Dean Stretton. It seems to have misled you in some way. I can't connect the illustrative examples you provide to counter Stretton's argument with the argument; not even if I disregard the fact that they mainly postulate mistakes rather than evil deeds.

Stretton's argument is just one of the variously worded moral arguments for evil. Maybe we can reach a common ground for our discussion if I quote this wording of the moral argument: "If God uses evil as a means to greater good in the way theists claim, then it would follow that some people have no obligation to stop or prevent evil. In other words, God's existence is logically incompatible with the existence of evils that certain onlookers have a moral obligation to prevent. Since there clearly do exist evils that these onlookers have an obligation to prevent, it follows that God does not exist."

It seems clear to me that morality becomes impossible when we justify evil actions under God.

Concerning your posting on God's spatial unlocatedness:

I came across this argument while digging up some Buddhist information. It's author is Professor Jeffrey Grupp at Perdue University. It seemed reasonable at the time I read it. It's on the internet.

The time and space theodicy that you have quoted, along with most other theodicies, is based on a belief that God knows more than we can ever know. That affords theists the opportunity to draw upon their imaginations and conjure up unseen goods in unseen times and spaces that possibly exist. What I hear is that God has chosen to afflict us with evil and suffering in order to possibly, just possibly, benefit Himself or, possibly, others in His realm that, possibly, exists.

What do you hear?

Best regards.
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Re: If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post Number:#29  Postby OTavern » February 4th, 2008, 11:02 pm

Dewey wrote:Maybe we can reach a common ground for our discussion if I quote this wording of the moral argument: "If God uses evil as a means to greater good in the way theists claim, then it would follow that some people have no obligation to stop or prevent evil....
It seems clear to me that morality becomes impossible when we justify evil actions under God.

One way of countering this confusion is to realize that morally good acts have at least three components: The nature of the act itself, the situation, and the motive. When all three of these are in place the act may be called "good."
Doing the right thing in the wrong situation, or for the wrong motive, detracts from the "good" of the act. Giving to charity to impress others is doing a good act for the wrong reason.
See: http://www.peterkreeft.com/audio/05_rel ... tion.htm#7
We could not justify our action by saying God will bring good out of it. That would be like a child saying I can break the window because my rich dad will pay for it. That kind of justification seems more odious than simply breaking the window out of malice. It is applying an additional wrong motive (because I can get away with it) to a wrong act (breaking the window.)
Therefore, people would continue to have an obligation to stop or prevent evil, irregardless of what God will do with it.

Dewey wrote:The time and space theodicy that you have quoted, along with most other theodicies, is based on a belief that God knows more than we can ever know. That affords theists the opportunity to draw upon their imaginations and conjure up unseen goods in unseen times and spaces that possibly exist.


I don't think we have any right to "speak for God." If He exists and is omniscient, His reasons for acting are still His and are in many ways "beyond our knowledge." As moral agents, we are still responsible for what we do. We cannot assume He'll "bail us out" when we have done evil. We can't be that presumptuous.
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WHY YOU ASK????

Post Number:#30  Postby coffeeprincess » February 9th, 2008, 1:29 am

Cause I like evil and god listens to ME!

Wa ha ah aha ha ha!!!


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