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

Post by philosopher19 » October 11th, 2018, 2:54 pm

Omnibenevolance is often defined as all-loving or infinitely good. If this contributes to Existence/God existing perfectly, then it is a necessary trait. If not, then it's irrelevant to the definition of true perfection.

Let's be rational ahead of being emotional. With that in mind, consider the following:

The problem of evil is cited as being irreconcilable with Existence/God being perfect. Let's break down why this happens and then assess whether it's a meaningful argument or not. 

I will start with the outline or conclusion: God being perfect and doing perfectly is something that is known via pure reason. How it does perfectly is something that pure reason dictates to be unknown to us because we lack omniscience. Essentially this means:

For there to be a counter argument to God doing perfectly, there'd have to be an objective instance of something not existing as maximally well as it can exist. For us to establish an objective instance of something existing not as maximally well as it can exist, we'd have to have full knowledge of it and its world and everything that relates to it including its future. Everything in Existence is connected or related in some way. So ultimately, we'd require omniscience to establish an objective instance of something not existing as maximally well as it can exist.

Simply put: 1) omniscience is required to know if something is not existing as well as it can do, and 2) no being can become omniscient from a non-omniscient state. Therefore 3) We as non-omniscient beings can never rationally establish an instance of something not existing as well as it can exist. It would be paradoxical. Since 3 is taken for granted and empiricism is paradoxically treated as such that it can override that which is known apriori, I will address 3 in more detail.

It is paradoxical to say something like P: All things considered, it is hypothetically impossible for Q to amount to a maximally good outcome.

Here's why:

Can P be demonstrated without omniscience? No. We lack omniscience which means we cannot consider all things. Can we ever become omniscient? No. Therefore P is clearly absurd. It's not even an unknown where we'd be able to say something like perhaps one day we'll be in a position where we can demonstrate P. We will never be able to demonstrate P and where we might have thought we did, we were clearly being irrational.

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

Post by Belindi » October 13th, 2018, 10:06 am

Evil is an evaluation by humans. Other animals, although they suffer, don't think about evil. Presumably if 'God' is equivalent to absolute good then 'God' includes human conceptions and feelings of evil all wrapped up within absolute good. It is not up to God-believers to understand God's sort of goodness.

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

Post by chewybrian » October 14th, 2018, 6:25 am

The original question assumes there is the capacity for evil, which in a sense assumes there is a God. You might say:
If there is evil, then there is a God.
If we lived in a deterministic universe, where everything including our will was fully governed by the laws of physics, then there would be no good or evil by definition. Nobody could do otherwise than what past events determined they would do. Yet, if we are honest, we all have to say we could have done otherwise in any given situation.

If we can choose good or evil (I believe we can), then we transcend the rules that govern inert matter or energy. It almost requires the action of God to break the rules in our favor. The stoics said the faculty of reason was a bit of God dwelling within each of us, and this makes sense.

I can't go beyond this observation to say what it might imply for us. I can't say what type of God there might be if there is one, and what rules might apply to us as a result. It only leaves the door open for God. If you can choose, you can defy the laws of physics, and something special is going on within you. It is reasonable, if you unlock your mind from the 'laws' which you have imposed upon it, to say that God might be the cause.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

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