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The Problem Of Evil?

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  • Originally posted by Alien View Post

    OK, it goes something like this. It's a simple matter to state that "good" is the opposite of "evil", but is it? Christians tend to see "righteousness" as good and everything else as evil. Fair enough, as that's part of their belief system. But maybe we can look at good and evil in a different way, which is as part of a spectrum. Draw an imaginary line with "totally good" at one end and "totally bad" at the other. Decide on a definition of "good" and "bad" (my definition is based on harm caused by the action to another being). Now take an action, any action, and decide where it goes on the line. Rinse and repeat. I venture to predict that you will find it difficult to place anything at either end point. Conclusion, good and evil are not absolutes but points on a good/bad spectrum. I'm going to refrain from actual examples, because they tend to invite disagreement based only on the specific examples, and instead invite anyone who cares to join in this thought experiment.

    What do you think?
    You've basically described moral relativity. Without God as a moral standard, this is what you'd be left with.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Alien View Post

      But maybe we can look at good and evil in a different way, which is as part of a spectrum. Draw an imaginary line with "totally good" at one end and "totally bad" at the other. Decide on a definition of "good" and "bad" (my definition is based on harm caused by the action to another being). Now take an action, any action, and decide where it goes on the line.
      What do you think?
      For this to work, even in theory, wouldn't you need at least a non-subjective definition of what good is?
      Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Machinist View Post

        You've basically described moral relativity. Without God as a moral standard, this is what you'd be left with.
        You shifted the goal posts but that's alright. I was talking about defining something (not just morality) by its opposite, not how the standards of morality are determined. I don't think that the subjective/objective definition of morality comes into it here, though I will discuss it. I'm just saying that an act can be judged in a nuanced way, not black or white.

        Ok, to the subjective question, and I'm responding to you too, Seer.

        I have feeling, and I do admit it's uncomfortable, but I don't see an alternative, that all morality must by its nature be subjective. The reasoning is that morality exists only in the mind, and thus is necessarily subjective. You can't produce a lump of morality that we can examine and consider to be objective, all you have is your mental feeling about it. Its not random, of course. People have all kinds of justifications for their moral values, based on various feelings of what seems good. The nearest we humans come to it is a consensus within a group, that something is right or wrong. That works quite well in fact, as we, being of the same species, tend to agree on what is and isn't good for us. And moral rules get tested by application and adjusted to fit our needs better. That doesn't make it objective though, and we see quite wide variations in morality between different groups of humans.

        But what about God, I hear you say. Here's where, if you have followed me so far, we will probably differ. I don't see why God's morality is any different in nature to ours. In other words, he tells us what to do based on his beliefs of right and wrong. That's still subjective to God. Don't get me wrong, Given the superior knowledge and intelligence of God, his morality should be far superior to ours, and therefore should be followed, IF we can establish and agree that 1) God exists and 2) what the heck his morality is. Yeah yeah, 10 commandments, but even within Christianity there is no general agreement as to what the Bible actually means on any given subject.

        Over to you.

        Comment


        • I was talking about defining something (not just morality) by its opposite, not how the standards of morality are determined.-Alien

          Perhaps not defined by it's opposite, but rather "exists" by virtue of it's opposite. This reminds me of the Taoist take on the subject:


          Under Heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness.
          All can know good as good only because there is evil.

          Therefore having and not having arise together.
          Difficult and easy complement each other.
          Long and short contrast with each other;
          High and low rest upon each other;
          Voice and sound harmonize each other;
          Front and back follow one another.

          Therefore the sage goes about doing nothing, teaching no talking.
          The ten thousand things rise and fall without cease,
          Creating, yet not possessing,
          Working, yet not taking credit,
          Work is done, then forgotten.
          Therefore it lasts for ever.



          I understand the whole idea of the relative uses of "high" and "low" for positional references, but high/low, dark/light, in/out, etc are absolutes in concept.

          Comment


          • I have feeling, and I do admit it's uncomfortable, but I don't see an alternative, that all morality must by its nature be subjective.-Alien

            It's pretty dang subjective in practice that's for sure. Whether one is a theist or atheist, a huge degree of subjectivity is going to influence their decisions and behavior.

            We're not talking about behavior, and the various moral codes that you see continually changing throughout history though.

            We're talking about one simple axiom of thought. If there is no absolute standard, then all is relative. Theists and atheists alike can agree on this statement as it is self evident. It is a self evident statement.

            The theist however, is the only one that would say this statement describes reality, and that it points to a Lawgiver. It is self evident that all of logic and rationality rests upon this axiom. It's like A=A...no absolute, then every thing is relative.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Sparko View Post

              Again, you are not omniscient nor omnipotent. You have no business second-guessing God. Your rules.
              I am entitled to comment on how some people view their deity. And I think Alien made a valid point to you

              Originally posted by Alien View Post

              I'm just saying that if we can't legitimately criticize God because he is beyond our understanding (which I think is a fair point) we should also refrain from positive (flattering) statements about God for the same reason.


              "It ain't necessarily so
              The things that you're liable
              To read in the Bible
              It ain't necessarily so
              ."

              Sportin' Life
              Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

                I am entitled to comment on how some people view their deity. And I think Alien made a valid point to you


                Hey, just seeing the glass half full.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by seer View Post

                  How do you know that?
                  It's logical if it is believed that the supreme creator being is omniscient and knows Past, Present, and Future. And at least mossrose appears to hold that view

                  Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

                  If something is omniscient it knows everything. In other words it ordains/destines everything and knows the outcome of every situation.
                  To which she replied:

                  Originally posted by mossrose View Post

                  Bingo!



                  It therefore follows that this supreme creator being knew exactly what the serpent, Eve, and Adam would do and that this supreme creator being set its creation [humans] up to fail/sin. It did so in full foreknowledge of the misery and horror to which their failure [sin] would lead.

                  It also knew that It would have to send part of Itself to be tortured and sacrificed for this sin which was the result of Its own decision [or failure - depending on how you view it].

                  Looked at that way, this interpretation presents a supreme creator being that is wilfully cruel and malevolent and which possesses some disturbing behaviours.

                  "It ain't necessarily so
                  The things that you're liable
                  To read in the Bible
                  It ain't necessarily so
                  ."

                  Sportin' Life
                  Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

                  Comment


                  • Oh yes, this reminds me of what I was trying to say yesterday in all my ramblings. I have condensed the thought down to this:

                    Autonomy... was created.


                    The paradoxical feeling that I get was what I was wanting to communicate. It was just a thought, a feeling.

                    Comment


                    • God is fully capable of exercising situational ethics and morals. Before he could be judged for the evils he has brought about and approved, it would be necessary to know that there were ultimately more beneficial courses available, and courses that had fewer or lesser unfavourable outcomes.
                      1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω
                      "It's bigger inside" might work for a TARDIS - it doesn't work for a bronze sea.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Alien View Post

                        I have feeling, and I do admit it's uncomfortable, but I don't see an alternative, that all morality must by its nature be subjective. The reasoning is that morality exists only in the mind, and thus is necessarily subjective. You can't produce a lump of morality that we can examine and consider to be objective, all you have is your mental feeling about it. Its not random, of course. People have all kinds of justifications for their moral values, based on various feelings of what seems good. The nearest we humans come to it is a consensus within a group, that something is right or wrong. That works quite well in fact, as we, being of the same species, tend to agree on what is and isn't good for us. And moral rules get tested by application and adjusted to fit our needs better. That doesn't make it objective though, and we see quite wide variations in morality between different groups of humans.
                        This is moral relativism, which in my mind is a non-starter when it comes to moral truths (because at bottom there really aren't any, they are legal or moral fictions). At least as an atheist you could gravitate towards moral realism.

                        But what about God, I hear you say. Here's where, if you have followed me so far, we will probably differ. I don't see why God's morality is any different in nature to ours. In other words, he tells us what to do based on his beliefs of right and wrong. That's still subjective to God. Don't get me wrong, Given the superior knowledge and intelligence of God, his morality should be far superior to ours, and therefore should be followed, IF we can establish and agree that 1) God exists and 2) what the heck his morality is. Yeah yeah, 10 commandments, but even within Christianity there is no general agreement as to what the Bible actually means on any given subject.

                        Over to you.
                        You are correct, in one sense His moral law is subject to His moral nature, but His moral nature is immutable, which makes His moral sense certain and because He is our Creator His law is both universal and binding on all men. And moral disagreement, even within Christianity, does not bear on these universal moral truths.

                        Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
                          It's logical if it is believed that the supreme creator being is omniscient and knows Past, Present, and Future. And at least mossrose appears to hold that view



                          To which she replied:




                          It therefore follows that this supreme creator being knew exactly what the serpent, Eve, and Adam would do and that this supreme creator being set its creation [humans] up to fail/sin. It did so in full foreknowledge of the misery and horror to which their failure [sin] would lead.

                          It also knew that It would have to send part of Itself to be tortured and sacrificed for this sin which was the result of Its own decision [or failure - depending on how you view it].

                          Looked at that way, this interpretation presents a supreme creator being that is wilfully cruel and malevolent and which possesses some disturbing behaviours.
                          Mossrose seems to lean more towards Calvinism. But even if she is right, you would still have no moral or intellectual basis to judge God.
                          Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by seer View Post

                            Mossrose seems to lean more towards Calvinism. But even if she is right, you would still have no moral or intellectual basis to judge God.
                            "even if she is right"? You mean there is more than one version of Christianity?



                            As Alien noted to Sparko


                            Originally posted by Alien View Post

                            Sparko, do you not see that saying we have no business criticizing God applies equally to praising him? You ding Hypatia for (loosely) suggesting that God is evil, but (I'm sure) have no problem asserting that God is good. If we are not equipped to judge God then we shouldn't make any judgments about him, good or bad.


                            So perhaps everyone should keep their opinions to themselves.
                            Last edited by Hypatia_Alexandria; 01-27-2022, 07:29 AM.
                            "It ain't necessarily so
                            The things that you're liable
                            To read in the Bible
                            It ain't necessarily so
                            ."

                            Sportin' Life
                            Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
                              So perhaps everyone should keep their opinions to themselves.
                              You first.

                              The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

                                So perhaps everyone should keep their opinions to themselves.
                                Nope, that doesn't follow. God is a life giver, Creator. We own our very existence to Him. Just because you, in your limited sinful understanding, don't like the way He does things does not mean that He is not perfectly good or just. Or not worthy of praise. Christian, Jews and even Muslims see the same world that you do, yet we still praise God and do not question His goodness.

                                Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                                Comment

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