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Problem of Evil

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#211    shadowhive

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 01:06 PM

View PostParanoid Android, on 03 February 2013 - 11:44 AM, said:

Being honest, nothing that happened could convince me of proof otherwise that God loves us.  And this is coming from someone who has seen people he loves drown because God decided to collapse a sandbar where non-swimmers were taking a bit of a swim.

That just sounds... well it sounds utterly horrible.

If it was anyone else but god, you could be called delusional or insane. 'Oh he still loves me, he killed people he loves right in front of me but he still loves me!' Once more I pity you, not that you care.

So just take off that disguise, everyone knows that you're only, pretty on the outside
Where are those droideka?
No one can tell you who you are
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#212    redhen

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 02:55 PM

View PostParanoid Android, on 03 February 2013 - 11:44 AM, said:

Being honest, nothing that happened could convince me of proof otherwise that God loves us.  And this is coming from someone who has seen people he loves drown because God decided to collapse a sandbar where non-swimmers were taking a bit of a swim.

Thank you for your honest answer, it's what I expected. I just read another comment of yours on this thread where you state 'you can't stop believing what you believe".

Quote

The argument against evil (presented by Antony Flew imagines that the characteristics of a "father" presented therefore must mean that God relates as a father-figure to us just as a father relates to his own son, or else the argument is not valid.  Sorry, I do not subscribe to that.  I do not think it relevant, and I do not think it accurate.

~ Regards, PA

But you used the same analogy on page 14:

" I heard a story once, from someone I knew.  Their baby kid was going through teething problems, crying and always in pain.  One day the kid found a sure fire way to help the pain.  He found something at just the right height for him to suck on, it was nice and cold and numbed the pain.  Baby Joey (not real name) found this to be a great thing, but his parents would never let him, and would stop him from doing this.  Why?  Why would so-called loving parents intentionally cause their child to feel pain? Don't they love him?  Don't they care that his teething is hurting?  These may all be questions baby Joey is thinking of.

Baby Joey doesn't know what his parents know.  Sucking on the rim of a toilet bowl may stop the pain but carries with it such health risks.  But baby Joey doesn't have the knowledge base to understand about germs and such, he just knows that his parents are not allowing him to alleviate his suffering."


#213    simplybill

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 12:09 AM

To Paranoid Android:
To give my perspective on the tragedy you described:

(......And this is coming from someone who has seen people he loves drown because God decided to collapse a sandbar where non-swimmers were taking a bit of a swim......) (Paranoid Android)

I don't want to come across as callous, so I'll add a personal story after my comment.

I think you may be mis-speaking when you blame God for the collapse of the sandbar. The sandbar was doing what it was designed to do. God didn't purposely collapse the sandbar. Sandbars collapse, reform, and collapse again according to the vagaries of the river currents.

I'm assuming the sandbar was in a river, as they generally are. For three "non-swimmers" (without life jackets or a lifeguard) to willingly take a swim in a river where there may have been dangerous currents and undertows was an unwise decision.

My personal story: I live in a house that was built to replace a house destroyed by a tornado in 1946. The house sits on a hilltop above a long, broad valley that channels high winds directly to my property. It's a wood-framed house, just like the original house. Now, if another tornado comes sweeping up the hill (as has happened again already, though with less disastrous results) and destroys my house, I have no justification to blame God for the disaster. He will simply reply, "How many times did I have to warn you? Don't build a wood-framed house in a tornado zone."

This is my same view of "the problem of evil". Even with the 10 Commandments spelled out in stone, and hundreds of laws concerning sanitation and good  behaviour, we often disregard our own conscience and innate wisdom and find ourselves (and our society) at a point of no return, and then ask "Where was God?"

As I said, I don't want to come across as callous. I'm a trained crisis counselor, and I have no doubt that the situation you describe was a horrible, life-altering experience. I wish you the best, and I trust you have sought some sort of counseling or guidance to help you with the after-affects of that tragedy.

Edited by simplybill, 04 February 2013 - 12:36 AM.

Every warrior is happy when his enemies flee before him, but much more blessed is the man to whom his fiercest enemies can come with confidence, knowing beforehand they will be received with love.
Richard Wurmbrand in Reaching Toward the Heights.

#214    redhen

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 01:43 AM

View Postsimplybill, on 04 February 2013 - 12:09 AM, said:

This is my same view of "the problem of evil". Even with the 10 Commandments spelled out in stone, and hundreds of laws concerning sanitation and good  behaviour, we often disregard our own conscience and innate wisdom and find ourselves (and our society) at a point of no return, and then ask "Where was God?"

That's a narrow view of the problem of evil. Yes, some philosophers/theologians use this argument; you shouldn't move to earthquake prone areas.There's some things we can do to protect ourselves, but that doesn't include the ebola virus, congenital birth defects, carnivores, there's a long list of things (in the broadest sense of the term) that cause gratuitous pain, suffering and death. It's inherent in nature/creation.

This seems to be contradictory to an all knowing, all powerful, all loving God.

Especially when He could have created the world and everything in it in six days, instead of millions of years of pain, suffering and death. That's the theododical problem. I know the psychological problem of suffering is significant, but it might best be discussed in the psychology forum.


#215    simplybill

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 03:20 AM

To redhen:

...."That's a narrow view of the problem of evil. Yes, some philosophers/theologians use this argument; you shouldn't move to earthquake prone areas.There's some things we can do to protect ourselves, but that doesn't include the ebola virus, congenital birth defects, carnivores, there's a long list of things (in the broadest sense of the term) that cause gratuitous pain, suffering and death. It's inherent in nature/creation.".... (redhen)

Yes, I see your point. There is pain we can avoid (which is what I was addressing in the earlier post), and then there's inexplicable pain we can't avoid; as you point out, I mistakenly used the narrow view to address the broader concept.  

To be honest, I was hoping to avoid sharing my views on inexplicable, unexplainable pain, a topic that generally leads to heated discussions with no resolutions.

I'll give it some thought, and hopefully return with a sensible answer. Thank you for calling me on that.

Edited by simplybill, 04 February 2013 - 03:22 AM.

Every warrior is happy when his enemies flee before him, but much more blessed is the man to whom his fiercest enemies can come with confidence, knowing beforehand they will be received with love.
Richard Wurmbrand in Reaching Toward the Heights.

#216    IamsSon

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 03:44 AM

I think what PA is trying to say is that his belief in God is not simply a personal choice on whether to believe God exists or not but is based on a personal experience with God, so whether he agrees with God's actions or not has no impact on his belief in God.

"But then with me that horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?" - Charles Darwin, in a letter to William Graham on July 3, 1881

#217    Pupp3t

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 04:06 AM

The concept of good and evil were delivered to us by a system of morality created by humans. How would we know what truly is  evil? Or good?
  But from what I see, we like to point fingers at the people who could prevent vice from occurring. Like God, for instance. What we don't realize is that we have the capacity to do this ourselves, since according to spiritual sources, God is in all of us. But, do we do this? Only rarely.
   What we see as 'bad' can also be seen as misconception. We see a robber, robbin' a bank. maybe we didn't know that the robber is really getting money to pay for his ailing daughter's ridiculously high medical bills. We wouldn't know, because the news media has us pressed to believe what we see on the cold screen with pretty colors.


#218    Jinxdom

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 04:12 AM

I never could understand why anything besides a thought out and with an unnecessary or illogical reason to cause suffering on something that is living by something that is living be called evil.


#219    Paranoid Android

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:29 AM

View Postshadowhive, on 03 February 2013 - 01:06 PM, said:

That just sounds... well it sounds utterly horrible.

If it was anyone else but god, you could be called delusional or insane. 'Oh he still loves me, he killed people he loves right in front of me but he still loves me!' Once more I pity you, not that you care.
All I was trying to get across was that I have witnessed a tragedy, been intimately involved, and still I believe in a God of love.  I don't literally believe that God intentionally looked down and collapsed the sandbar just to satiate his desire.  I was using intentionally provocative language to convey that despite the tragedies I don't see a "problem with evil".

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#220    Paranoid Android

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:47 AM

View Postsimplybill, on 04 February 2013 - 12:09 AM, said:


To Paranoid Android:
To give my perspective on the tragedy you described:

(......And this is coming from someone who has seen people he loves drown because God decided to collapse a sandbar where non-swimmers were taking a bit of a swim......) (Paranoid Android)

I don't want to come across as callous, so I'll add a personal story after my comment.

I think you may be mis-speaking when you blame God for the collapse of the sandbar. The sandbar was doing what it was designed to do. God didn't purposely collapse the sandbar. Sandbars collapse, reform, and collapse again according to the vagaries of the river currents.

I'm assuming the sandbar was in a river, as they generally are. For three "non-swimmers" (without life jackets or a lifeguard) to willingly take a swim in a river where there may have been dangerous currents and undertows was an unwise decision.
Yes, I misspoke, intentionally, to get a point across.  As mentioned, I don't literally believe God collapsed the sandbar.  

That said, it was a beach on the east-coast of Australia, not a river.  And yes, it was an unwise choice to go to a beach with no lifeguards.  I personally have never made that mistake again.  However, most of us thought it was safe to wade in the ocean close to shore.  

Incidentally, this stretch of beach we later found out was known for this kind of thing, but the Council would not put up warning signs because if someone died the sign of danger would be an admittance of liability.  That's lawyers, for you.


View Postsimplybill, on 04 February 2013 - 12:09 AM, said:

My personal story: I live in a house that was built to replace a house destroyed by a tornado in 1946. The house sits on a hilltop above a long, broad valley that channels high winds directly to my property. It's a wood-framed house, just like the original house. Now, if another tornado comes sweeping up the hill (as has happened again already, though with less disastrous results) and destroys my house, I have no justification to blame God for the disaster. He will simply reply, "How many times did I have to warn you? Don't build a wood-framed house in a tornado zone."

This is my same view of "the problem of evil". Even with the 10 Commandments spelled out in stone, and hundreds of laws concerning sanitation and good  behaviour, we often disregard our own conscience and innate wisdom and find ourselves (and our society) at a point of no return, and then ask "Where was God?"
I'm inclined to agree to a large degree


View Postsimplybill, on 04 February 2013 - 12:09 AM, said:

As I said, I don't want to come across as callous. I'm a trained crisis counselor, and I have no doubt that the situation you describe was a horrible, life-altering experience. I wish you the best, and I trust you have sought some sort of counseling or guidance to help you with the after-affects of that tragedy.
I've gone through the grieving process.  It happened all the way back in December 1998, and while I'll never forget it, I don't have any grief/loss issues associated with that event.  

Ironically, 14 years later, on the exact same date, December 14, 2012, the other great tragedy of my life occurred when my dad suffered a fatal heart attack.  Naturally, I've come to hate that particular date (first 1998, then 2012).  

~ Regards, PA

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#221    Frank Merton

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:54 AM

We need ways to deal with suffering, especially with grief, and I suppose the Christian way of saying it must be part of God's plan beyond our comprehension should not be discouraged when dealing with someone going through it.  It does seem to help.

It is not intellectually satisfying.  In fact, it seems intellectually dishonest and merely a way to avoid meeting the world as it actually is.  It would also be a tremendous excuse for accepting the existence of suffering passively, when there might be things we could do.


#222    redhen

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 01:26 PM

View PostPupp3t, on 04 February 2013 - 04:06 AM, said:

  But from what I see, we like to point fingers at the people who could prevent vice from occurring. Like God, for instance. What we don't realize is that we have the capacity to do this ourselves, since according to spiritual sources, God is in all of us. But, do we do this?

Yes, free will is an acceptable answer to the problem of moral evil, but it does not address natural evil. The problem of natural evil was exacerbated by Darwin's theory of adaptation and natural selection, by establishing that gratuitous pain and suffering had been around a lot longer than the previously accepted age of humanity (and other species).

But even before Darwin, people, specifically Christians, had difficulties reconciling an all loving God with the cold, indifferent, random violence inherent in nature.

Lord Tennyson wrote these lines in his poem In Memoriam A. H. H., 1850;

Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation's final law
Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek'd against his creed

I was going to post a video lecture of Bart Ehrman talking about theodicy, but after watching it again and other videos, he never talks about the pain and suffering of non-human animals. It's not surprising I suppose, Man is the apple of God's eye, every other species is there merely to serve man in some capacity. But that does not mitigate the fact the many of these species are sentient and feel pain and emotional suffering.

I'm not alone in this kind of thinking. Other, greater minds, have wrestled with the problem of nature, red in tooth and claw and have found no satisfactory answer to justify millions of years of unnecessary, gratuitous pain, suffering and death, for both humans and non-humans.


#223    Paranoid Android

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 02:43 PM

View Postredhen, on 04 February 2013 - 01:26 PM, said:

I'm not alone in this kind of thinking. Other, greater minds, have wrestled with the problem of nature, red in tooth and claw and have found no satisfactory answer to justify millions of years of unnecessary, gratuitous pain, suffering and death, for both humans and non-humans.
The term "satisfactory" is rather subjective, isn't it?  After all, what may not be satisfactory to one person may be quite satisfactory to another.  The fact that this particular debate has reached 15 pages (and could easily go another 15+) when in contrast I felt the question was satisfactorily answered in a single post is proof of such subjectivity.  

~ Regards, PA

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#224    redhen

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 04:00 PM

View PostParanoid Android, on 04 February 2013 - 02:43 PM, said:

The term "satisfactory" is rather subjective, isn't it?

Secular philosophers are satisfied with the free will argument when it comes to moral evil. When it comes to natural evil, answers such as "it's God's punishment, "it's God's way of getting us to repent", "malevolent demons shift around tectonic plates", or simply "it's an ineffable mystery",  while certainly are replies, I don't think they answer anything.

Quote

After all, what may not be satisfactory to one person may be quite satisfactory to another.  The fact that this particular debate has reached 15 pages (and could easily go another 15+) when in contrast I felt the question was satisfactorily answered in a single post is proof of such subjectivity.  

I submit that's because for some people, their conception of God's love is unfalsifiable. There is no evidence whatsoever that could persuade them to believe that their concept of an all loving God is incompatible with the evidential problem of evil.


#225    Frank Merton

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 04:14 PM

View Postredhen, on 04 February 2013 - 01:26 PM, said:

I'm not alone in this kind of thinking. Other, greater minds, have wrestled with the problem of nature, red in tooth and claw and have found no satisfactory answer to justify millions of years of unnecessary, gratuitous pain, suffering and death, for both humans and non-humans.
There is nothing in natural processes that prevents this sort of thing.  Nature doesn't care about suffering because nature is not a thing that can care about anything -- or know about it.

This is why sometimes I wonder about this business of returning animals to nature.  I wonder what they might say if they were able to understand it.

Natural selection is another thing often misrepresented as somehow being beneficent.  It is a process that weeds things out -- by killing them.  The less fit perish.  Yes it can work to promote behaviors like cooperation, but also behaviors like parasitism and predation.  It doesn't know good or bad, it just operates automatically under the logic of the way things are.






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