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.
User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 5560
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post by Greta » September 28th, 2017, 1:38 am

Or God might be a sense of our potential - the nature of what life could evolve to become if it became sufficiently advanced.

User avatar
Interest_philosophy
New Trial Member
Posts: 1
Joined: November 4th, 2017, 9:47 am

Re: If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post by Interest_philosophy » November 4th, 2017, 9:51 am

I don't think that there can be good without evil, because evil sparks good. I think this is a separate issue from whether or not you believe in God. :D

Belindi
Moderator
Posts: 923
Joined: September 11th, 2016, 2:11 pm

Re: If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post by Belindi » November 5th, 2017, 5:20 am

Interest_philosophy wrote:I don't think that there can be good without evil, because evil sparks good. I think this is a separate issue from whether or not you believe in God. :D
Good point. I agree. Could you possibly fill it out with illustrations ?

What I have in mind is something like an atheist who sees that good is the positive absence of known evil. And that good is not necessarily transcendental but is defined as positive absence of known evil.

However good is not only the set of events that banish evil but also the set of events that include the banishing of evil. The latter set of events embraces evil.

What remains to be defined concerning God is the notion that God purposes.

User avatar
September
New Trial Member
Posts: 3
Joined: August 1st, 2017, 4:32 pm

Re: If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post by September » November 5th, 2017, 7:39 am

Evil and God are both concepts the human kind invented, they tried to understand these among other concepts after various modifications on each concept respectively. If you are wise and far from solid egoisim, you will realize that both god and evil are the same thing. they both insire, influence, move in a way what is happening in what we refer to as real life. they are not good or bad, they are necessary. And necessary is the only way life works. Necessity brought us here. Where we discuss about it.

Belindi
Moderator
Posts: 923
Joined: September 11th, 2016, 2:11 pm

Re: If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post by Belindi » November 6th, 2017, 6:37 am

September, you may well be right. However what has the epistemological origin of the idea of good and evil got to do with how we define and deal with evil?

For a start, there is a lack of neutral terminology, and someone always pops up and complains about the use of the word 'evil' as it has religious connotations.

Dark Matter
Posts: 850
Joined: August 18th, 2016, 11:29 am
Favorite Philosopher: Paul Tillich

Re: If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post by Dark Matter » November 7th, 2017, 5:55 pm

Atreyu wrote:
My position is that God (assuming one) would not be "good" or "bad". Nor omnipotent. She would simply be a lot more powerful and intelligent than humans, that's all, and that can be assumed by definition.
That’s exactly what God is NOT, by definition.

Belindi
Moderator
Posts: 923
Joined: September 11th, 2016, 2:11 pm

Re: If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post by Belindi » November 8th, 2017, 6:16 am

Atreyu wrote:
My position is that God (assuming one) would not be "good" or "bad". Nor omnipotent. She would simply be a lot more powerful and intelligent than humans, that's all, and that can be assumed by definition.
Like Zeus then, all-powerful and nothing else.

After the demise of pagan gods humans invented or discovered (whichever the case may be) the supremacy of good . The supremacy of good is now being redefined by philosophers and theologians, and the supremacy of good over evil is being fought over day after day in real life where people are dying in the fighting.

User avatar
Kathyd
Posts: 30
Joined: June 21st, 2017, 3:43 pm

Re: If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post by Kathyd » November 8th, 2017, 3:33 pm

There is evil because it was never God's intention to micromanage everything.

Not to mention, evil serves to drive people towards good, towards solutions, towards God. I mean, think about it, if there was no evil, we wouldn't need God, would we? Evil makes God not only relevant, but necessary.

Chili
Posts: 334
Joined: September 29th, 2017, 4:59 pm

Re: If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post by Chili » November 8th, 2017, 8:39 pm

Kathyd wrote:There is evil because it was never God's intention to micromanage everything.

Not to mention, evil serves to drive people towards good, towards solutions, towards God. I mean, think about it, if there was no evil, we wouldn't need God, would we? Evil makes God not only relevant, but necessary.
God is a being, and generates no evil. There are other actors in the world - human beings - and they are the ones that generate evil? God did not want to "micromanage" everything, and so most things are managed by not-God.

Did you always believe this way - from birth?

User avatar
Kathyd
Posts: 30
Joined: June 21st, 2017, 3:43 pm

Re: If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post by Kathyd » November 8th, 2017, 9:16 pm

Chili wrote:
Kathyd wrote:There is evil because it was never God's intention to micromanage everything.

Not to mention, evil serves to drive people towards good, towards solutions, towards God. I mean, think about it, if there was no evil, we wouldn't need God, would we? Evil makes God not only relevant, but necessary.
God is a being, and generates no evil. There are other actors in the world - human beings - and they are the ones that generate evil? God did not want to "micromanage" everything, and so most things are managed by not-God.

Did you always believe this way - from birth?
Well, it's the only way I could explain the OP. I mean, I do believe in God, and yet there clearly is evil everywhere in the world. How else could one reconcile these two truths (assuming one holds them both as truths)?

My answer is similar to what many of my friends would say, including our pastor.

Chili
Posts: 334
Joined: September 29th, 2017, 4:59 pm

Re: If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post by Chili » November 8th, 2017, 11:42 pm

Perhaps there is no evil.

Belindi
Moderator
Posts: 923
Joined: September 11th, 2016, 2:11 pm

Re: If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post by Belindi » November 9th, 2017, 5:11 am

Kathyd wrote:There is evil because it was never God's intention to micromanage everything.

Not to mention, evil serves to drive people towards good, towards solutions, towards God. I mean, think about it, if there was no evil, we wouldn't need God, would we? Evil makes God not only relevant, but necessary.

Well argued, but philosophers don't presume that there be God such that He intends or does not intend. Your argument stands without any reference to God.

User avatar
Scorpio27
New Trial Member
Posts: 2
Joined: November 9th, 2017, 7:44 am

Re: If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post by Scorpio27 » November 9th, 2017, 8:57 am

The question assumes that “God” must be absolutely good and would not condone “evil” acts to occur.

This opens a door that leads to many other debatable subjects, like what is “good” and what is “evil”?

Is there a universal code of ethics and morality, and who determined this code to be the universal standard?

These are subjects that have been at the center of debates as far back in human history as human history itself. At this point in time we have so many groups of believers that claim that they have a universal code and that their God gave it to them and therefore it has to be the absolute truth. We know that these claims cannot be substantiated through any scientific method, so we have to turn to reason, it is easy to determine through reason that none of these claims can be absolutely true and therefore cannot be a reliable source to determine what is good and evil. It also stands to reason that if these universal codes are not absolutely true then neither can the cliams about the source that dictatated.

I would argue that what is determined good and evil by one would not be considered to be by someone else. Because of this it would not be reasonable to determine gods existence based on what is perceived to be evil and why God allows it to happen.

“God” may not be absolutely good, “God” could be both good and evil. “God” could have created all things and then decided to let it all play out without interfering with “God’s” own creation. My point is no one can absolutely prove that God, gods, or spiritual beings do not exist or that they do. It’s not unreasonable to believe in the possibility of The existence of “God” just like it’s not unreasonable to believe that we evolved out of a Big Bang. They both take faith at some point in events that no one in history witnessed.

Spectrum
Posts: 4416
Joined: December 21st, 2010, 1:25 am
Favorite Philosopher: Eclectic -Various

Re: If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post by Spectrum » November 10th, 2017, 3:59 am

Scorpio27 wrote: ..
“God” may not be absolutely good, “God” could be both good and evil. “God” could have created all things and then decided to let it all play out without interfering with “God’s” own creation.

My point is no one can absolutely prove that God, gods, or spiritual beings do not exist or that they do. It’s not unreasonable to believe in the possibility of The existence of “God” just like it’s not unreasonable to believe that we evolved out of a Big Bang. They both take faith at some point in events that no one in history witnessed.
Note this thread I had raised;
God is an Impossibility.
http://onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/ ... =4&t=15155

Humans can be both good and evil but it make no rational sense for a God to be both good and evil. Note this argument;
  • Whatever God or gods are presented, a God by default ultimately has to be an absolutely perfect God, i.e. an ontological God - a Being than which no greater can be 'conceived.*'
    * thought of and reasoned.

    If a person accept a non-absolute God then that god is opened to be subordinated and inferior to another superior and Absolute God as claimed by other believers.

    If say a Christian claims his/her god is not absolute but a Muslim claims his/her God is absolutely perfect God [actually as claimed in the Quran], then it is implied the Christian God is inferior to Allah.

    When one accept one's god as not-absolute and perfect, it open up an inferiority gap where anything goes. A Muslim will claims the Christian God being inferior is kissing the ass of Allah and it can be any thing derogatory as Allah dominates the Christian God.

    Therefore it is only rational both the Christian and Muslim must claim their God is absolutely perfect as an ontological God thus giving no gap for the Islamic God to dominate the Christian God and vice-versa.

    Besides Christians versus Muslims, all other theists, when faced with the above dilemma, have to claim their God to be an absolutely perfect God or an ontological God so that it refer to the same on-par-God, ontological and monotheism
So I'll repeat;
  • Whatever God or gods are presented, a God by default ultimately has to be an absolutely perfect God, i.e. an ontological God - a Being than which no greater can be 'conceived.*'
    * thought of and reasoned.
When God is an absolutely perfect God, it cannot be both absolutely good and absolutely evil, i.e. that is a contradiction.
When a God must be absolutely perfectly good, how can it allow evil* [empirically evident] to exists.
Evil in this case is natural evil [as normally perceived] and human-based evil.

-- Updated Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:09 am to add the following --
It’s not unreasonable to believe in the possibility of The existence of “God” just like it’s not unreasonable to believe that we evolved out of a Big Bang. They both take faith at some point in events that no one in history witnessed.
Scientific theories and Theological Doctrines are not comparable in the above sense.

Science never claim their "beliefs" [justified true beliefs] to be absolute nor with 100% certainty. The typical scientist will accept there could be other Big Bangs before the latest one that is inferred from empirical evidences.

Theists on the other hand will literally believe their God is absolute and real to the extent of the empirical sense of listening and answering their prayers which cannot be proven, verifiable nor repeatable. In addition, theists belief are not 'justified true beliefs' like Scientific theories.

According to Popper, scientific theories are merely polished conjectures which is subject to more polishing. No theist will accept their belief - God exists - as relating to any conjectures.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

User avatar
Scorpio27
New Trial Member
Posts: 2
Joined: November 9th, 2017, 7:44 am

Re: If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post by Scorpio27 » November 10th, 2017, 10:14 am

I don’t disagree with your arguments as you presented it with your presupposition that we are only discussing monotheistic theology. Christian and Muslim doctrine I agree must present the argument that their god is perfect and superior based on your argument, but pantheism on the other hand does not support that there is one god superior to all others.

The word theos in Koine Greek simply means a deity, and the English definition for the word god, only if capitalized by the writer, referres to an absolute supreme ruler of all. The word itself simply defined as a being with powers that are greater and beyond human ability.

Pantheism has a large array of gods that have a certain powers and attributes that differ. I say all this to once again point that the question is lacking clarity and does not consider what is evil or what is good are subjective to personal biases and perception.

Example: Muslims are evil because killing non Muslims is considered good if it is done as a act of jihad in the defense of Allah and his people.

To many biased views here, is it evil to kill those that do not worship the same god as you? Or is it good to kill non believers that threaten your religion?

If you believe in 5 gods is it required that you assign 1 of the 5 as superior and therefore greater then the 4 other gods? What if they are equal in every way and 1 wants to save a child from being shot, but another believes that the child should not be saved. Is one act evil and what act good? They are equally loving and compassionate but they do not agree, who has the final say sense all 5 are equal? They vote and 3 out of the 5 believe the child should not be saved and the other 2 except the decision. Now if it’s evil for my 5 loving gods that had the power to save a child and choose not who determines it to be evil? Who determines that saving the child is good?

See the issue, no one has 100% of all knowledge of past events in history let alone the true events that created this vast universe that is so very mysterious and complex. No one can see if saving a child from being shot is good or evil because all the facts are not present. That child may have been armed with a bomb heading in a crowd of 100s of women and children and was shot to save them. Would that help in deciding if my 3 gods couldn’t exist based on what some might consider good but others evil?

As much as both religion and science love to make cliams that they know the truth and stand and make arguments based on what evidence they present it’s still lacking the knowledge or knowing of what is true about how, when, or the possibility of a who present, at the beginning of all matter.


Your point that god has to be perfect by default is self defeating because it pre supposes that monotheistic theology and it’s defintion of a god is the only view of theology that exists.

Also a being that cannot be precieved being any greater, who’s perception is of greater are you talking about? I might perceive a totally different being then what my wife may perceive. Perception is way to subjective to build a argument on.

Post Reply