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:#31  Postby haribol acharya » July 5th, 2008, 11:29 am

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?


This is a question that intrigues me at all times. I always think if God is really merciful the gulf between the rich and poor would be leveled.
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Post Number:#32  Postby anarchyisbliss » July 6th, 2008, 1:14 pm

haribol acharya wrote:This is a question that intrigues me at all times. I always think if God is really merciful the gulf between the rich and poor would be leveled.


I disagree. God created us and said "go do what you want, just try to play nice or there will be consequences if you don't". Then people stopped playing nice and years and years later, human beings are doing things that divide themselves as a species such as poverty and richness, and God is just sitting somewhere saying, " I warned you".
"If there is hope, it lies in the proles." - George Orwell, 1984
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Post Number:#33  Postby de Silentio » July 9th, 2008, 8:58 pm

plato.stanford.edu/entries/evil/#SouMakThe

I post this because I cannot adequately defend it myself. However, I do like this particular theodicy.

Now, my own views: People suffer, there is no doubting that. I like to use the term suffer rather than evil, because people can play nasty tricks with the word evil. I think suffering alleviates this somewhat. God, by the Christian definition, is All Good, All Powerful, and All Knowing. So the typical argument goes: how can an all good God allow suffering if he has the power to stop it and knows about it?

If we take Hicks' soul-making theodicy seriously, it isn't God's goal to stop all suffering, it is his goal for people, recognizing that people are free agents, to make choices that help build them to be ready to live with and understand God more fully.

When people discuss the problem of suffering, one thing I never hear is the fact that God must suffer himself. Not only on the cross (for this is obvious), but he also suffers with us. Just as a parent suffers when they watch their child make destructive decisions, God suffers when we make destructive decisions. Is it wrong for suffering to exist? That's a tough question, what would life be without the pains that we experience?
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Post Number:#34  Postby Belinda » July 13th, 2008, 7:05 am

How can a disembodied spirit suffer? It's an hypothetical question because the answer is that there exists no material, sentient body called 'God' so no emotions, no feelings.

To claim that God suffers with us is an anthropomorphic view of what God is. Nothing wrong with your anthropomorphic opinion about the nature of God if it suits you, however from a modern perspective which embraces the various sciences, it is an extraordinary and even risible idea, so if you persist in this claim about the anthropomorphic nature of God you will have some explaining to do to philosophers.

Okay, you mention Jesus' suffering on the cross, and you seem to hold Trinitarian beliefs about Jesus.Okay. However, apart for the fact that not every devotee of Deus is a theist, or the fact that not every theist is a Trinitarian, it is possible to view the suffering and death of Christ as a metaphor for unavoidable human suffering in general.This is one of the uses of myth.

Regards

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Post Number:#35  Postby de Silentio » July 13th, 2008, 12:28 pm

Belinda, thanks for the reply.. And good catch. It may be that I am projecting human attributes on to God.

However, if I take what you said, I can only conceive of a God that is disinterested in human affairs. (which means that he is merely a prime mover). On the other hand, if God is interested in human affairs, then he must care for humans, which is an emotion unto itself.

Why can't a disembodied spirit suffer? The problem we run into is that we cannot investigate disembodied spirits. So my claim that one can suffer is just as good as your claim that one cannot. The only evidence I have to work with is the Bible, since I am not as familiar with other religions.

Here's another argument: The problem of evil states that God is all knowing, if this is the case then he must know emotions. If he knows emotions and their nature (for, he is all knowing), it is possible that he is constructed to experience emotions.
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Post Number:#36  Postby Belinda » July 13th, 2008, 3:52 pm

Why can't a disembodied spirit suffer?(writes de Silentio)

Belinda replies:

1.Because suffering is experienced in either the central nervous system including the cerebral cortex, or via the peripheral nervous system with connections to the pain centre and cerebral cortex which conceptualises the suffering. Nervous systems are present in space-time and do not pertain to spirits,which are not usually considered to occupy space-time.


2.I wonder if you have ever considered the possibility that God does not transcend the creation, but is the creation.

(The orthodox Christian God is already immanent in creation, although he also transcends it.)

Regards

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Post Number:#37  Postby anarchyisbliss » July 14th, 2008, 10:25 am

Belinda wrote:1.Because suffering is experienced in either the central nervous system including the cerebral cortex, or via the peripheral nervous system with connections to the pain centre and cerebral cortex which conceptualises the suffering. Nervous systems are present in space-time and do not pertain to spirits,which are not usually considered to occupy space-time.
Belinda


Sorry Belinda, but this is only partially true. Suffering is only propagated through the nervous system in biological species. You're thinking to much inside the box. ( That's not an ad hominem by the way, just an observation )
"If there is hope, it lies in the proles." - George Orwell, 1984
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Post Number:#38  Postby de Silentio » July 14th, 2008, 8:22 pm

Belinda wrote:1.Because suffering is experienced in either the central nervous system including the cerebral cortex, or via the peripheral nervous system with connections to the pain centre and cerebral cortex which conceptualises the suffering. Nervous systems are present in space-time and do not pertain to spirits,which are not usually considered to occupy space-time.


In humans, yes. In fact, our thoughts can be reduced to physical reactions also, and likewise anything that we create can be reduced to physical processes. (Thought --> Will --> Movement of Body --> manipulation of the physical world --> creation of things)

So, since spirits cannot suffer because they don't have the requirements you list, they would not be able to think or create like human because thinking and creating are also physical processes. Furthermore, God would not be able to create, since you group him as a spirit. Then we are left with no God, and this argument is moot.

I think your missing my point. Your limiting suffering to purely physical reactions. I am no philosopher of the mind, but I would argue that even though your suffering may be stimulated by physical reactions, your experience of it is not physical. Is our experience of the world purely physical? Is consciousness purely physical? I have thoughts on this, but I cannot defend them (I have not done enough research in this area).

2.I wonder if you have ever considered the possibility that God does not transcend the creation, but is the creation.


I've considered a lot of possibilities. In fact, I have made it one of my goals to continually refute my beliefs to make sure they hold strong.

Pertaining to your question, not exactly. However, I don't see how we can give attributes to a God that does not transcend our realm of space and time. Especially attributes like all knowing, all powerful, and all good (which are attributes that I outlined in my initial post). I think the problem of suffering rests on God possessing these attributes.

Would you care to expound on how God can be the creation but not transcend the creation?

(by the way thanks for the conversation, I'm sure I come of like a prick sometimes, but I really don't mean to. I don't have the time or energy to be cordial in forum posts!)
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If there's a God, why is there evil?

Post Number:#39  Postby Edward J. Bartek » July 16th, 2008, 9:36 pm

Out of the spiritual unity of the Ultimate Creator (God) there was created His anithesis,matter, with rational concept between. This was the Ultimate Trinity of God, of Spirit-Mind-Body. Excess change toward the body would destroy the spirit and the Trinity. This was the ultimate evil. Excess towsrd the spirit woulfd destroy the Spirit and dthe Trinity. So change went back toward the body, but in moderation to maintain the Trinity. This was the ultimate good for man, to be in the "inage of God." to avoid evil extremes of the spiritual and sensual that could destroy the Trinity of spirt-mind-body.
So man is free to choose to do evil, and free to do evil to others, with consewuences to his personal trinity.

In natural disasters the good are destroyed. Why? In the universal perspective of God, the greater good has priority over the lesser. An earthquake must destroy to maintain the balance of nature,to follow the natural laws of God. Rationly, one side of the balance scale of natural law cannot go up without going down. So to create is to destroy. To maintain balance something has to be sacrificed. This rational principle canot be denied. It is found in the Conservation Law of science, like in E=mc2. What would you do? Have no earthquakes, to let the whole world cruble, or have earthquakes with a relatively few killed? Is it better to let one man be sacrificed to save a hundred?
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Re: If there's a God, why is there evil?

Post Number:#40  Postby de Silentio » July 17th, 2008, 10:08 am

Edward J. Bartek wrote:Is it better to let one man be sacrificed to save a hundred?


Sacrificed against his will, no.
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If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post Number:#41  Postby willowtreeme » July 17th, 2008, 11:15 am

Edward J. Bartek wrote:

Is it better to let one man be sacrificed to save a hundred?
de Silentio wrote:
Sacrificed against his will, no. I agree with de Silentio.

I feel that when one sacrifices his own life to save a hundred, that is GOOD. When one human being has his life sacrificed by others, like a lamb led to be slaughered, that is immoral.

And now, at this moment, the thought of Hitler has just come to me. Would I have had the courage to kill Hitler to save millions knowing what he caused to happen -- of course, not only him, but many many others. EVIL IS WHAT OCCURS WHEN GOOD MEN DO NOTHING. Who is it that said that? Is it okay for morality to sometimes take a left-hand turn?

IF THERE IS A GOD, WHY IS THERE EVIL?

First, I do believe there is a God. I believe that at one point there was "nothingness" as we conceive it and God created the universe. What an absolutely astounding thought to dwell on -- for the rest of one's natural life!!!!!!!!

The Bible says that God created the Universe in six days and on the seventh He rested. We know it took billions of years. God set a marvelous pattern to everything and out of that pattern came other patterns -- wonderful random patterns which eventually caused human life. Evolution is wonderful and at the same time it is very trickly.

I believe that GOODNESS AND EVIL EVOLVED within all of that, along with free will. I don't believe that God "tossed us here" to be totally on our own. I think there have been hints down through history where HE HAS INTERVENED -- helped us along -- oherwise we probably would have been annihilated by now.

Did God always plan for "free will"? Even though some would say that there is "total insanity" I see such wisdom in the universe. I do not believe as some do that we are puppets in God's hands. Does God know human history as it evolves and continues to evolve? I am not sure but I do believe in free will. Or does God in a sense, evolve with us? This is by no means an heretical statement.

Evil exists in the world but goodness exists in the world. They both exist because human beings are constantly using their free will to make choices -- and those choices create reactions in the universe either for good or evil.

God did not create evil -- it evolved (and I am not comfortable saying this) as a natural consequence to creation working out its existence.

BUT SO HAS GOODNESS EVOLVED AND I BELIEVE THAT IT IS GOODNESS THAT WILL HAVE THE FINAL SAY.
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Post Number:#42  Postby Luthor » August 13th, 2008, 6:47 pm

First of all IF you believe in God then the whole christian story comes with it, which says that Eve ate from that tree and caused badness whatever, but I tend to look at things more scientifically and there is no wonder why **** happens.
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If there's a God, why is there evil?

Post Number:#43  Postby Edward J. Bartek » August 13th, 2008, 8:11 pm

If God created all out of himself, then he created his opposite--matter out of spirit. In between was change, a rational concept, whichis equivalent to mind. So God created a trinity, the ultimatae good, out of his unity. But if change, out of spirit, went unlimited, it would have destroyed spirit and the trinity. This was the ultimate necessary ultimate evil. So change was reversed back toward the spiritual.But its excess would have destroyed the good of the sensual and the trinity. So mind changed back toward the sensual, but limited it by moderation--the ultimate free will. All knowledge was deducible aftere that. Man was created "in the image of" this ultimate creation. The trinity of man has free choice to modetrate his spireitual and sensual values.
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There Bust be Balance in This Universe

Post Number:#44  Postby MattT » August 15th, 2008, 11:34 pm

There is evil because there is balance in this universe. Nothing exists without something exactly opposite to it. Good can only exist in this universe if there is also evil.

To those who posted that they have never seen or experienced evil, or doubt that evil exists, I am happy for you to have never experienced evil.

The bigger question to me is "Why is the universe this way?".
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Post Number:#45  Postby Belinda » August 16th, 2008, 5:02 am

The bigger question to me is "Why is the universe this way?".

Even bigger question is 'why should the universe not be this way?'

(but it is and some see evil where others see good.)
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