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Kelp(p)
11-10-2014, 03:51 PM
Hi,

The Problem of Evil, especially as it relates to the Holocaust, has torn at me a lot over the years. It was heavy on my mind when I decided that I couldn't be a Christian anymore. Recently, though, I've begun to consider the question in a different light.

It seems to me that whether there is a God or not, all of us are still faced with a world that is both full of wonders and full of unspeakable evil. For every bird that takes flight, there's a baby that gets cancer. For every rainbow or Hubble telescope image, there's a Good Friday earthquake. I'm sick to death of theodicy and this post is not an exercise in that. If there is a God, then I'm fully prepared to find out that He is simply a sadist laughing at our suffering. But if there is no God, then we're still confronted with an existence that is nasty, brutish, and short to an extent that I'm tempted to call it a cosmic joke with no punchline.

If God has some grand reason for this, then He isn't telling us and we have no clue as to what it could possibly be. My gut tells me that there is no good reason for an omnipotent God to make the world like this, but I'm open to being wrong on that. Either way, in the face of God's silence on the matter, we might as well be living in a cold universe where suffering simply has no answer. The atheist and the theist are faced with the same absurdity in practice, if not in the ultimate reality.

So whether there is a God or not, we're also all still confronted with a choice to make-whether to "opt out."

I find that I've taken the words of Albert Camus from his Myth of Sisyphus as a sort of life motto- "There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy." One can either find a reason to carry on in spite of the practical absurdity of existence or one can give their middle figure to the heavens.

Either way, one is equally forced to find something that one personally finds meaningful enough to justify the continuation of this painful life. Whether one lives for the glory of God or the companionship of others, it's all essentially the same thing when looked at in this light. So, I really don't see the Problem of Evil as a logical reason for not believing in God (or at least for not being a sadotheist). I disbelieve for other reasons.

-----

PS.

The only remaining possible variable that I see is Romans 8:18- "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." It's tricky, but I guess my response at this time would be that this verse is only good enough to justify suffering in a world in which babies don't get cancer, in which God does not kill the just and the unjust alike, or at least a world wherein we knew without a doubt that "Heaven [and the resurrection of the dead] is for real." In other words, I think Paul is here siding with Job's interlocutors against the innocents who suffer in this world in which God is silent. It's just not a good enough answer for me anymore. Suffering, especially something like the Holocaust, is too much of a cosmic brown note to be soothed with so simple a balm. It takes all our reasonings and theodicies and laughs in our face.

As you can see, I have a hard escaping the idea that God Himself died in the ovens at Auschwitz and He isn't going to rise again this time.

pancreasman
11-10-2014, 04:15 PM
A very real problem, and one whose concerns I share. I have examined all the usual responses to this and I find them lacking, or at least insufficient. From the position we are in now, with what we know now, it sure does seem a terrible waste.

Catholicity
11-10-2014, 08:17 PM
I think most religions attempt to come up with an answer for the problem of evil. There are a lot of religions that explain this one in myths. I find the best answer to Christianity is a partial one, which is why evil exists, and that has everything to do with Lucifer's choice of pride and desire for revenge on God for his punishment, which admittedly, seems very myth-like in and of itself; and the result of evil's effect on human suffering, which, IF we allow it to, gives us the opportunity to know God, and understand his Love for us and show it to others. I don't pretend to understand, but I think that is what makes the most sense to me. Not that its my choice anyway

pancreasman
11-10-2014, 08:22 PM
I think there are two unsolvable concerns about existence. One is the problem of evil, in particular, undeserved, unedifying suffering. The other is the 'problem' of the existence of great beauty and unrewarded compassion. I know of no human philosophy or religion which 'explains' both with any completeness.

JohnnyP
11-11-2014, 12:04 AM
If God has some grand reason for this, then He isn't telling us and we have no clue as to what it could possibly be. My gut tells me that there is no good reason for an omnipotent God to make the world like this, but I'm open to being wrong on that. Either way, in the face of God's silence on the matter, we might as well be living in a cold universe where suffering simply has no answer. The atheist and the theist are faced with the same absurdity in practice, if not in the ultimate reality.

Though I'm not that studied or convinced about all of it, Kabbalah has some interesting ideas about how God created everything and why there has to be evil. For a very simplified version adapted to my own Christian understanding:

God wanted to create man as a physical expression of Himself, just as we want to procreate children.

Since the infinite God was everything, there had to be a realm where infinite God wasn't everything so we could exist. So in the beginning God withdrew Himself, the Tzimtzum. This is comparable to Kenosis of God's Word emptying himself to be as a man, Philippians 2:7.

Now there's a realm that isn't completely God and creation of things that aren't God can take place, we can suppose that the universe began as a single particle arising from an absolute vacuum, or whatever.

The real point is that where there's not God there's not infinite goodness, wherever there's not goodness evil exists. So the idea is to bring more of God's goodness into our realm to drive out evil as a lingering byproduct of initial creation, which are what Judeo-Christian religions are all about.

In more practical terms it could be described as having a canvas that's already got a picture of you filling it up, but you want to paint in a picture of your kids so you first have to wipe part of the canvas blank. When you're done painting, no more blank. You = God, Kids = Creation, Blank = Evil.

seer
11-11-2014, 04:32 AM
I don't know, I don't see a real problem here. God gave men a high degree of moral freedom - He is letting us have our way and this is what it looks like.

Kelp(p)
11-11-2014, 04:47 AM
I'm not convinced that we even have free will, but even if I was that still doesn't rule out undeserved suffering. That's why I brought up Job's friends. A murderer might chose to take a life, but God could still have stopped the act for the sake of the innocent victim in any of a million ways. In any kind of coherent ethical system, a "good" being is one who acts to prevent the suffering of others when possible.

Even if we have free will, I have a hard time buying the notion that an omniscient God is not also "omni-persuasive" and capable of convincing anyone to take the righteous course of action in a given situation. I say the same thing about suffering as a teaching tool. It should be no big thing for God to create in the human mind the knowledge of His goodness, mercy, or whatever other lesson is desired.

Kelp(p)
11-11-2014, 04:50 AM
Though I'm not that studied or convinced about all of it, Kabbalah has some interesting ideas about how God created everything and why there has to be evil. For a very simplified version adapted to my own Christian understanding:

God wanted to create man as a physical expression of Himself, just as we want to procreate children.

Since the infinite God was everything, there had to be a realm where infinite God wasn't everything so we could exist. So in the beginning God withdrew Himself, the Tzimtzum. This is comparable to Kenosis of God's Word emptying himself to be as a man, Philippians 2:7.

Now there's a realm that isn't completely God and creation of things that aren't God can take place, we can suppose that the universe began as a single particle arising from an absolute vacuum, or whatever.That doesn't make any sense. God isn't some gas or liquid that prevents other things from taking up the same space.

seer
11-11-2014, 05:09 AM
I'm not convinced that we even have free will, but even if I was that still doesn't rule out undeserved suffering. That's why I brought up Job's friends. A murderer might chose to take a life, but God could still have stopped the act for the sake of the innocent victim in any of a million ways. In any kind of coherent ethical system, a "good" being is one who acts to prevent the suffering of others when possible.

Even if we have free will, I have a hard time buying the notion that an omniscient God is not also "omni-persuasive" and capable of convincing anyone to take the righteous course of action in a given situation. I say the same thing about suffering as a teaching tool. It should be no big thing for God to create in the human mind the knowledge of His goodness, mercy, or whatever other lesson is desired.

I don't know if God is "omni-persuasive" - that is not a classic attribute of God. And no, taking the test yourself is not the same as someone giving you the answers. One builds character, the other doesn't. And what is a better lesson, God just telling us He is good or demonstrating that goodness through the cross? God telling us that He will forgive and love - or actually forgiving and loving. Telling us He is just or actually demonstrating that justice through the judgement of the wicked. But at bottom, there is only a problem with timing. God will intervene and set the universe straight. No more death or suffering, the lion will lie with the lamb. Creation itself will be reconstituted. So what you long for is coming - just not according to your time table. Not only that - how does a godless universe, void of all future hope make anything better?

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

JohnnyP
11-11-2014, 05:23 AM
That doesn't make any sense. God isn't some gas or liquid that prevents other things from taking up the same space.

The idea is that the infinite God withdrew to allow creation from what is not infinitely God. Creation where God is infinitely everything and everywhere would be pantheism, kind of like that Hindu God where creation is really just God pretending to be creation.



I'll chime in on this one:


I'm not convinced that we even have free will, but even if I was that still doesn't rule out undeserved suffering.

Research about it:

On the basis of these results, some researchers concluded that free will is an illusion. (however) We have free will to abort an action. So, we may better think of volitional action in this case not as free will, but as "free won't." We can stop an action initiated by our brain nonconsciously. -Free Will (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/dont-delay/201106/free-wont-it-may-be-all-we-have-or-need)


That's why I brought up Job's friends. A murderer might chose to take a life, but God could still have stopped the act for the sake of the innocent victim in any of a million ways. In any kind of coherent ethical system, a "good" being is one who acts to prevent the suffering of others when possible.

If a "bad" being doesn't prevent the suffering of others when possible, doesn't that make all parents who ever existed "bad" for bringing children into a world where suffering is inevitable?


Even if we have free will, I have a hard time buying the notion that an omniscient God is not also "omni-persuasive" and capable of convincing anyone to take the righteous course of action in a given situation. I say the same thing about suffering as a teaching tool. It should be no big thing for God to create in the human mind the knowledge of His goodness, mercy, or whatever other lesson is desired.

To eliminate all suffering would amount to having God think for you which again would be like that Hindu God or programming a robot. I know when I pray a lot I have a lot of what you say, when I don't I do all kinds of stupid things, that's one way God is there to help.

Kelp(p)
11-11-2014, 07:25 AM
I don't know if God is "omni-persuasive" - that is not a classic attribute of God.That's why I put it in quotes. I just mean in terms of God's ability to open our hearts, regardless of free will.
And no, taking the test yourself is not the same as someone giving you the answers. One builds character, the other doesn't. And what is a better lesson, God just telling us He is good or demonstrating that goodness through the cross? God telling us that He will forgive and love - or actually forgiving and loving. Telling us He is just or actually demonstrating that justice through the judgement of the wicked.I'm not talking about teaching us. I'm talking about creating all the knowledge and character that we need in our heads in the same way He hands out Prevenient or Irresistible Grace (depending on your "ism"). It would save a lot of suffering and would mean Christ did not have to die.


But at bottom, there is only a problem with timing. God will intervene and set the universe straight. No more death or suffering, the lion will lie with the lamb. Creation itself will be reconstituted. So what you long for is coming - just not according to your time table.I dunno. Some would say that justice delayed is justice denied. I also see no reason to believe that this cosmic horror show of a universe is the only way God could have accomplished his end. If he'd prevented suffering in the first place, there would be no need for any time table at all.


Not only that - how does a godless universe, void of all future hope make anything better?
I didn't say it did. My point is that suffering does not necessarily provide a disproof of God. I was kind of hoping some non-theists would also be around to address the point.

But if God and suffering do in fact coexist- then given my points above, I think it says some disturbing things about God. It's like a parent who intentionally burns his child in order to teach them not to touch the stove top but even worse given God's apparent omnipotent ability to instill us with the knowledge not to touch the stove in the first place.

Kelp(p)
11-11-2014, 07:52 AM
The idea is that the infinite God withdrew to allow creation from what is not infinitely God. Creation where God is infinitely everything and everywhere would be pantheism, kind of like that Hindu God where creation is really just God pretending to be creation.
I disagree. Where is God? God is nowhere, because He doesn't have physical form. Omnipresence refers to all of Creation being in God's presence and before His eyes and knowledge. The Son is on Earth yet in the very bosom of the Father. No withdrawals necessary.


Research about it:

On the basis of these results, some researchers concluded that free will is an illusion. (however) We have free will to abort an action. So, we may better think of volitional action in this case not as free will, but as "free won't." We can stop an action initiated by our brain nonconsciously. -Free Will (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/dont-delay/201106/free-wont-it-may-be-all-we-have-or-need)The article admits that it has little to do with the free will debate in actuality. It's interesting, though it seems to me that the test subjects were being behaviorally conditioned to veto their wrist flexing anyway. It seems like quantum mechanics is the best proof of determinism, though, anyway.




If a "bad" being doesn't prevent the suffering of others when possible, doesn't that make all parents who ever existed "bad" for bringing children into a world where suffering is inevitable?Maybe (look up the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement). Either way, God bears the greater blame for not stopping suffering before it gets that far.



To eliminate all suffering would amount to having God think for you which again would be like that Hindu God or programming a robot. I know when I pray a lot I have a lot of what you say, when I don't I do all kinds of stupid things, that's one way God is there to help.Maybe it's "unamerican" of me, but I'm not sure being a robot would be such a bad thing. We wouldn't know the difference, for one.

Adrift
11-11-2014, 08:20 AM
I think most religions attempt to come up with an answer for the problem of evil. There are a lot of religions that explain this one in myths. I find the best answer to Christianity is a partial one, which is why evil exists, and that has everything to do with Lucifer's choice of pride and desire for revenge on God for his punishment, which admittedly, seems very myth-like in and of itself; and the result of evil's effect on human suffering, which, IF we allow it to, gives us the opportunity to know God, and understand his Love for us and show it to others. I don't pretend to understand, but I think that is what makes the most sense to me. Not that its my choice anyway

I agree. I think one of the biggest components missing in answers to the Problem of Evil is that they don't often factor in a spiritual adversary who the Bible calls the "god of this world/age", and the "prince of the power of the air". I think the primary reason for evil on this earth is because, through deception and disobedience, the power of dominion that the spirit-made man (Adam) had over the earth was stolen from him, and in turn lead to the fallen state of world. The adversary, Satan, legally wields that power, that dominion, and it took God sending the perfect man, Jesus, to legally take it back. What was set in motion at the cross will finally be accomplished with the coming of the new heavens and earth.

Now, I suppose one could push this all back one, and ask, why did God create Satan if God knew that through him evil would come into this world? And for me, the Free Will Defense fits perfectly here. That God, through his foreknowledge, determined that this was the best of all possible worlds in which the most number of people could both have free will, and be united with Him.

One thing I always consider when thinking about the Problem of Evil is the spiritual laws that God put in place that, in my opinion, are as concrete as the laws of logic. I think that God, being one of order and perfection, necessarily abides by those laws, and has planned accordingly. So, long story short, evil and the fallen state of this world is, in my opinion, the result of the free will of Satan and mankind, but that God had a plan of redemption, and that eventually there will be no more room for evil in the coming world.

seer
11-11-2014, 08:42 AM
That's why I put it in quotes. I just mean in terms of God's ability to open our hearts, regardless of free will.

I'm not sure what that would look like, or at what point God would crossover from persuasion to coercion. After all, if as Scripture teaches, the love of God and our fellow man is the ultimate goal, perhaps there needs to be significant room for individual will.


I'm not talking about teaching us. I'm talking about creating all the knowledge and character that we need in our heads in the same way He hands out Prevenient or Irresistible Grace (depending on your "ism"). It would save a lot of suffering and would mean Christ did not have to die.

But again, that would require no action on our part. Nothing to be gained and nothing to be lost. Character is not earned through trials and tribulation. Sure, I would be happy if you gave me a thousand dollars, but I wouldn't value it as much if I had earned it myself by the sweat of my brow. And again, we would have never known the depths of God's love and forgiveness apart from the fall and the cross. Yes, God could have just told us that He was loving and forgiving but that would have been little more than lip service. In a fallen world God can actually demonstrate both.


I dunno. Some would say that justice delayed is justice denied. I also see no reason to believe that this cosmic horror show of a universe is the only way God could have accomplished his end. If he'd prevented suffering in the first place, there would be no need for any time table at all.

The bottom line is that the fall of man has allowed God to demonstrate attributes that would have remained hidden, or not actually practiced. Saying that you love someone is quite different than putting that love into action. What value is there in loving the perfectly lovable?

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?


I didn't say it did. My point is that suffering does not necessarily provide a disproof of God. I was kind of hoping some non-theists would also be around to address the point.

But the bottom line is that we either live in a universe were suffering could have redeeming qualities, or we live in a universe where suffering is completely meaningless.



But if God and suffering do in fact coexist- then given my points above, I think it says some disturbing things about God.


No Kelp, it says some disturbing things about us.

JohnnyP
11-11-2014, 09:39 AM
I disagree. Where is God? God is nowhere, because He doesn't have physical form. Omnipresence refers to all of Creation being in God's presence and before His eyes and knowledge. The Son is on Earth yet in the very bosom of the Father. No withdrawals necessary.

I'm not talking about physical form, as you said like gas or liquid, but spirit. God's limited presence is here by the Word and Spirit. If the infinite presence of God weren't withdrawn and was everywhere permeating everything, we'd all be God and that's pantheism.


The article admits that it has little to do with the free will debate in actuality. It's interesting, though it seems to me that the test subjects were being behaviorally conditioned to veto their wrist flexing anyway. It seems like quantum mechanics is the best proof of determinism, though, anyway.

Another one, I'll have to check into it more:


Then along came quantum mechanics. When physicists observed that behavior at the atomic level was fundamentally indeterminate, the universal validity of classical physics, as well as philosophical determinism came into question. -Source (http://www.realclearscience.com/articles/2013/04/03/quantum_mechanics_supports_free_will_106499.html)


Maybe (look up the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement). Either way, God bears the greater blame for not stopping suffering before it gets that far.

But then after God all parents should be blamed for continuing the suffering by procreating? If you have kids do you regret it, since you could prevent them and countless descendants from suffering?


Maybe it's "unamerican" of me, but I'm not sure being a robot would be such a bad thing. We wouldn't know the difference, for one.

You wouldn't exist as you anymore, same as if you never existed. I'd rather live my life suffering and all.

Catholicity
11-11-2014, 10:29 AM
For the record: I don't think God created Satan. I think God created Lucifer. And Lucifer made the choice to be all the things God was not. So we humans have the identical choices and influences if we choose them.

I'm obviously into free will and spiritual influences. Of course I tend to think other religions have other explanations (Pandora's box for one) Buddhism explains suffering to enlighten us which isn't TOO far off the mark though gives no reason for it, except for tantrism... etc.

shunyadragon
11-11-2014, 01:20 PM
I think most religions attempt to come up with an answer for the problem of evil. There are a lot of religions that explain this one in myths. I find the best answer to Christianity is a partial one, which is why evil exists, and that has everything to do with Lucifer's choice of pride and desire for revenge on God for his punishment, which admittedly, seems very myth-like in and of itself; and the result of evil's effect on human suffering, which, IF we allow it to, gives us the opportunity to know God, and understand his Love for us and show it to others. I don't pretend to understand, but I think that is what makes the most sense to me. Not that its my choice anyway

Simply in the view of the Baha'i Faith evil dose not exist. Ancient world views describe evil as the adversary world of their own religious view, and the dark at the end on the cave they did not understand. Time to light a torch and leave Plato's cave.

Adrift
11-11-2014, 01:24 PM
Simply in the Baha'i Faith evil dose not exist. Ancient world views describe evil as the adversary world of their own religious view, and the dark a=at the end on the cave they did not understand. Tim to light a torch and leave Plato's cave.

So, in the Baha'i Faith, if a person were to molest or murder a child, that would not be considered evil? And if there is no evil, would it also be correct to say that in the Baha'i Faith good does not exist either?

NormATive
11-11-2014, 02:43 PM
As you can see, I have a hard escaping the idea that God Himself died in the ovens at Auschwitz and He isn't going to rise again this time.

I have the privilege of attending a Jewish community with a rather large contingent of Holocaust survivors. One of them (I'll call him Abraham), who is in his 90s, tells me that the religious leaders of his group prayed daily for their deliverance from the hands of the brutal Nazi prison guards. Yet, nothing at all happened until the French and American soldiers liberated their camp. In fact, most of the religious leaders died along with most of Abraham's family including his wife, both of his children, his father and mother and his brothers and sisters. Only his niece and he survived.

He said that as the last of the pious elders were led to the torture chambers and eventually the gas chambers, they all wondered where was G-d in all of this. They came to the conclusion that they were on their own. They realized that they had been thinking of G-d in entirely the wrong way. G-d was not some cosmic servant who does the bidding of the righteous, and that if bad things happened to you, it was because of the sinfulness of mankind.

They came to see the Holocaust as the human equivalent of a Typhoon. We do not view the typhoon as inherently evil. Yet, it causes massive death and destruction in its wake. Likewise, the actors on the world stage of European Imperialism - including the Nazi machine - were like a philosophical monsoon, thrashing about causing death and destruction in all directions. The goal, seen from the eyes of those who perpetrated the horror, was peace through purity and prosperity. They didn't see their actions as evil, but as necessary. Testimony during the Nuremberg Trials will illustrate this point.

My friend, Abraham, read everything he could about the Shoah - seeking some kind of "reason" for their suffering. G-d promised them that they were the chosen people, and that G-d will never cease to rescue them in their time of need. That G-d would avenge those who would lift a hand against them. Yet, G-d was absent. Nowhere to be found. Had they been unfaithful? No, they said the Sh'ma every day. They observed Shabbat. They trained their children to love the L-rd with all of their hearts. Had they turned their back on G-d? No. In Germany, the Jewish community prospered, and they gave all the glory to the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph - proudly proclaiming their providence from the very hand of G-d.


So, what happened? Had G-d just simply lost interest in them? Did the Christians, whom they saw fraternizing with the Nazis, strike a better bargain with G-d?

This didn't make sense.

No, they simply misunderstood what was really going on.

G-d is not a being that is concerned with the goings on of the people who make up the world. There is no Moschiac who will save the day, riding on a white horse and ushering in world peace. No.

And, then they remembered the words of one of the ancients (who was a contemporary of Jesus of Nazareth, according to legend):


"If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?" - Hillel

This has been the motto of the Reformed Jewish movement ever since.

And, now perhaps you may understand why Reformed Jews are all about volunteerism, charity and civil rights. G-d is the enabling spirit, the motivation to make things go right. To clean up after the Typhoons of life.

NORM

fm93
11-11-2014, 02:55 PM
Saying that you love someone is quite different than putting that love into action. What value is there in loving the perfectly lovable?

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
So why do you refuse to show any sort of discernible love to people who simply hold different political views than your own, and instead say things like you wish they'd be thrown to the Taliban/ISIS?


But the bottom line is that we either live in a universe were suffering could have redeeming qualities, or we live in a universe where suffering is completely meaningless.
What redeeming qualities were there in the suffering of tens of thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands) of Chinese women who were brutally raped, genitally mutilated and killed by Japanese soldiers in the 1937 Nanjing Massacre? Or in the suffering of the countless Native Americans who were poisoned by American soldiers and slaughtered or forcibly exiled? Or of the suffering of the Christian-raised teenagers who realize that they experience feelings of attraction towards people of the same sex, are told by church leaders and parents that being gay is shameful and sinful, and tearfully pray in desperation to God every day and night asking to be changed, but nothing happens and they continually hear those voices get louder and louder until eventually they're drowning so deeply in shame and fear and anxiety and self-hatred that they end up taking their own lives?

I'm sure sentiments like "the depths of God's love and forgiveness can be displayed in a fallen world" are comforting to you personally, but I'm just not sure how that applies to or can be seen by those people whom I mentioned. They certainly didn't seem to sense the presence of God or his love and forgiveness in the midst of their suffering, even when (like the last case) they were desperately praying for a response.

Kelp(p)
11-11-2014, 03:03 PM
What redeeming qualities were there in the suffering of tens of thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands) of Chinese women who were brutally raped, genitally mutilated and killed by Japanese soldiers in the 1937 Nanjing Massacre? Or in the suffering of the countless Native Americans who were poisoned by American soldiers and slaughtered or forcibly exiled? Or of the suffering of the Christian-raised teenagers who realize that they experience feelings of attraction towards people of the same sex, are told by church leaders and parents that being gay is shameful and sinful, and tearfully pray in desperation to God every day and night asking to be changed, but nothing happens and they continually hear those voices get louder and louder until eventually they're drowning so deeply in shame and fear and anxiety and self-hatred that they end up taking their own lives?

I'm sure sentiments like "the depths of God's love and forgiveness can be displayed in a fallen world" are comforting to you personally, but I'm just not sure how that applies to or can be seen by those people whom I mentioned. They certainly didn't seem to sense the presence of God or his love and forgiveness in the midst of their suffering, even when (like the last case) they were desperately praying for a response.Put far more poignantly than I was able to. Thanks.

Kelp(p)
11-11-2014, 03:06 PM
I have the privilege of attending a Jewish community with a rather large contingent of Holocaust survivors. One of them (I'll call him Abraham), who is in his 90s, tells me that the religious leaders of his group prayed daily for their deliverance from the hands of the brutal Nazi prison guards. Yet, nothing at all happened until the French and American soldiers liberated their camp. In fact, most of the religious leaders died along with most of Abraham's family including his wife, both of his children, his father and mother and his brothers and sisters. Only his niece and he survived.

He said that as the last of the pious elders were led to the torture chambers and eventually the gas chambers, they all wondered where was G-d in all of this. They came to the conclusion that they were on their own. They realized that they had been thinking of G-d in entirely the wrong way. G-d was not some cosmic servant who does the bidding of the righteous, and that if bad things happened to you, it was because of the sinfulness of mankind.

They came to see the Holocaust as the human equivalent of a Typhoon. We do not view the typhoon as inherently evil. Yet, it causes massive death and destruction in its wake. Likewise, the actors on the world stage of European Imperialism - including the Nazi machine - were like a philosophical monsoon, thrashing about causing death and destruction in all directions. The goal, seen from the eyes of those who perpetrated the horror, was peace through purity and prosperity. They didn't see their actions as evil, but as necessary. Testimony during the Nuremberg Trials will illustrate this point.

My friend, Abraham, read everything he could about the Shoah - seeking some kind of "reason" for their suffering. G-d promised them that they were the chosen people, and that G-d will never cease to rescue them in their time of need. That G-d would avenge those who would lift a hand against them. Yet, G-d was absent. Nowhere to be found. Had they been unfaithful? No, they said the Sh'ma every day. They observed Shabbat. They trained their children to love the L-rd with all of their hearts. Had they turned their back on G-d? No. In Germany, the Jewish community prospered, and they gave all the glory to the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph - proudly proclaiming their providence from the very hand of G-d.


So, what happened? Had G-d just simply lost interest in them? Did the Christians, whom they saw fraternizing with the Nazis, strike a better bargain with G-d?

This didn't make sense.

No, they simply misunderstood what was really going on.

G-d is not a being that is concerned with the goings on of the people who make up the world. There is no Moschiac who will save the day, riding on a white horse and ushering in world peace. No.

And, then they remembered the words of one of the ancients (who was a contemporary of Jesus of Nazareth, according to legend):



This has been the motto of the Reformed Jewish movement ever since.

And, now perhaps you may understand why Reformed Jews are all about volunteerism, charity and civil rights. G-d is the enabling spirit, the motivation to make things go right. To clean up after the Typhoons of life.

NORMThank you for the perspective. At my most theistic I'm likely closer to that view than anything else (though there are a couple of terminology details we could quibble on).

I'm just not sure a God who is willing to do no more than push us to clean up this mess ourselves is worth bothering with at all.

fm93
11-11-2014, 03:22 PM
Put far more poignantly than I was able to. Thanks.
I'd really like those theodicy postulates of God's nature to be correct, and for there to truly be an end to suffering and relief/redemption for it all. But I've slowly become convinced over the years that instead of trying to find logical possibilities for why God might allow evil and suffering, it's far more honest and morally right to just throw up my hands and admit that no matter how logically airtight my hypotheses and speculations may be, I simply don't know why such things happen. When evil and suffering happen, we ought to first and foremost grieve with those who are affected and do everything in our power to make sure those things can't happen, or to at least take away the pain as best as we can. Posturing about unseen divine reasons may be a fascinating intellectual exercise, but for all intents and purposes it's useless when applied to the real world directly in front of us.

Kelp(p)
11-11-2014, 03:26 PM
That is often true. Though the attempt to continue to view the God who lets toddlers get cancer as my loving Father has certainly caused me a fair amount of mental suffering over the years- sometimes leading to self-harm and suicidal thoughts. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Darth Executor
11-11-2014, 03:58 PM
And, now perhaps you may understand why Reformed Jews are all about volunteerism, charity and civil rights. G-d is the enabling spirit, the motivation to make things go right. To clean up after the Typhoons of life.

NORM

Well, nothing says being all about civil rights like the 60 million unborn children killed by abortion, which all but the most conservative of Jews enthusiastically support. That's what, 10 times the number of Jews killed during the Holocaust? But hey, tikkun olam!

pancreasman
11-11-2014, 04:10 PM
I don't know, I don't see a real problem here. God gave men a high degree of moral freedom - He is letting us have our way and this is what it looks like.

How does our moral freedom effect earthquakes which cause undeserved suffering?

Darth Executor
11-11-2014, 04:16 PM
How does our moral freedom effect earthquakes which cause undeserved suffering?

Adam and Eve bro.

Kelp(p)
11-11-2014, 04:21 PM
Well, nothing says being all about civil rights like the 60 million unborn children killed by abortion, which all but the most conservative of Jews enthusiastically support. That's what, 10 times the number of Jews killed during the Holocaust? But hey, tikkun olam!
Keep the abortion debate out of my thread, please.

Darth Executor
11-11-2014, 04:23 PM
Keep the abortion debate out of my thread, please.

Ok but if you're gonna ban relevant tangents then don't be surprised if you never get a satisfactory answer.

Kelp(p)
11-11-2014, 04:24 PM
Adam and Eve bro.I don't see how that's possible unless one is a YEC. Earthquakes are a necessary side effect of the movement of tectonic plates. An Eden without tectonic activity would be a miraculous construct that strains even the most literal view of Genesis.

Kelp(p)
11-11-2014, 04:26 PM
Ok but if you're gonna ban relevant tangents then don't be surprised if you never get a satisfactory answer.I'm willing to entertain the one about Adam and Eve. I don't consider the abortion debate a relevant tangent because it's using an example that not everybody accepts is an evil in the first place. We have enough noncontroversial cases to use.

Darth Executor
11-11-2014, 04:29 PM
I don't see how that's possible unless one is a YEC. Earthquakes are a necessary side effect of the movement of tectonic plates. An Eden without tectonic activity would be a miraculous construct that strains even the most literal view of Genesis.

You don't need an Eden without tectonic activity (though I should note that tectonic activity is deadly only in extreme situations, most people have nothing to fear from earthquakes and Eden could have been placed in a relatively stable area). You just need humans who were, in some form, impervious to death.

Adrift
11-11-2014, 04:36 PM
That is often true. Though the attempt to continue to view the God who lets toddlers get cancer as my loving Father has certainly caused me a fair amount of mental suffering over the years- sometimes leading to self-harm and suicidal thoughts. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Many Christians believe that the world is currently in a fallen state, and that this isn't God's desire.

This is going to sound controversial, but I believe its not that God necessarily lets toddlers get cancer, but that, for the most part, his current ability to intervene is, in some ways, legally limited. I also believe that prayer and faithfulness can, in some fashion or another, untie his hands so that his will is manifest. We maybe see a glimpse of this in scripture in Daniel 10 where a divine messenger is prevented for weeks from delivering a message to Daniel by the Prince of Persia (a demonic force). It took the combined effort of Michael, one of the chief princes, for the messenger to get through.

Daniel 10:12 Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. 13. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, 14. and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.”

If Satan truly is the god of this world, and he truly does desire to steal, kill, and destroy all of those who may come to a saving faith, then its a miracle he hasn't utterly succeeded. I believe its only because of the faithful, the lights of this world, that more evil hasn't befallen it. As bad as its been (and I agree, its been bad), it could have been far far worse. And for all of the terrible and rotten things people have done to one another over the ages, there's also been a whole lot of good as well.

One of the things I wonder about the Problem of Evil is does the problem go away if there is no God? Does evil go away if there is no God? If there is no God, all of those people who suffered and died horrible deaths still suffered and died horrible deaths, right? If that suffering and death somehow more meaningful without God?

JohnnyP
11-11-2014, 04:39 PM
G-d is not a being that is concerned with the goings on of the people who make up the world...G-d is the enabling spirit, the motivation to make things go right.

So God is just an idea like Santa Claus and the Spirit of Christmas who inspire people to do good things, not a real deity that cares about or interacts with the world. Interesting.

pancreasman
11-11-2014, 04:39 PM
Many Christians believe that the world is currently in a fallen state, and that this isn't God's desire.

This is going to sound controversial, but I believe its not that God necessarily lets toddlers get cancer, but that, for the most part, his current ability to intervene is, in some ways, legally limited. I also believe that prayer and faithfulness can, in some fashion or another, untie his hands so that his will is manifest. We maybe see a glimpse of this in scripture in Daniel 10 where a divine messenger is prevented for weeks from delivering a message to Daniel by the Prince of Persia (a demonic force). It took the combined effort of Michael, one of the chief princes, for the messenger to get through.

Daniel 10:12 Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. 13. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, 14. and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.”

If Satan truly is the god of this world, and he truly does desire to steal, kill, and destroy all of those who may come to a saving faith, then its a miracle he hasn't utterly succeeded. I believe its only because of the faithful, the lights of this world, that more evil hasn't befallen it. As bad as its been (and I agree, its been bad), it could have been far far worse. And for all of the terrible and rotten things people have done to one another over the ages, there's also been a whole lot of good as well.

One of the things I wonder about the Problem of Evil is does the problem go away if there is no God? Does evil go away if there is no God? If there is no God, all of those people who suffered and died horrible deaths still suffered and died horrible deaths, right? If that suffering and death somehow more meaningful without God?

I do agree that a reasonable attempt at reconciling the problem of evil is to limit God's omnipotence in some way. If it is ultimately self-limiting then the problem only goes back one step. Why would God knowingly limit his ability to act when he was aware what the consequences would be?

Kelp(p)
11-11-2014, 04:45 PM
You don't need an Eden without tectonic activity (though I should note that tectonic activity is deadly only in extreme situations, most people have nothing to fear from earthquakes and Eden could have been placed in a relatively stable area). You just need humans who were, in some form, impervious to death.Point taken. I didn't think about that.

JohnnyP
11-11-2014, 04:47 PM
What redeeming qualities were there in the suffering...

Would you more fully developed and knowledgeable and better as a human being if you had no mercy or compassion? Because that's what you'd be if there was no suffering. That's one benefit.

Kelp(p)
11-11-2014, 04:56 PM
Many Christians believe that the world is currently in a fallen state, and that this isn't God's desire. I do to in the sense of human behavior. I'm just not sure a good God would have allowed this to happen.


This is going to sound controversial, but I believe its not that God necessarily lets toddlers get cancer, but that, for the most part, his current ability to intervene is, in some ways, legally limited. I also believe that prayer and faithfulness can, in some fashion or another, untie his hands so that his will is manifest. We maybe see a glimpse of this in scripture in Daniel 10 where a divine messenger is prevented for weeks from delivering a message to Daniel by the Prince of Persia (a demonic force). It took the combined effort of Michael, one of the chief princes, for the messenger to get through.

Daniel 10:12 Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. 13. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, 14. and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.”

If Satan truly is the god of this world, and he truly does desire to steal, kill, and destroy all of those who may come to a saving faith, then its a miracle he hasn't utterly succeeded. I believe its only because of the faithful, the lights of this world, that more evil hasn't befallen it. As bad as its been (and I agree, its been bad), it could have been far far worse. And for all of the terrible and rotten things people have done to one another over the ages, there's also been a whole lot of good as well.I think you're taking "god of the world" far too literally. Paul was likely just saying that Satan is the one behind Roman paganism, especially the official cult of Caesar.

I reject the "legal contract" line of thought for the same reason I reject Origen's theory that the Crucifixion was a payment to Satan. I don't think God would put Himself in a position to be put over a barrel by one of His creations, especially one who had defiled itself so considerably. The OT passages you cite are interesting, but to me they're chestnuts in need of a different interpretation (or possibly rejection. I haven't been in inerrantist in a long time) the same way Judges 1:19's suggestion that God was stopped by iron chariots does.



One of the things I wonder about the Problem of Evil is does the problem go away if there is no God? Does evil go away if there is no God? If there is no God, all of those people who suffered and died horrible deaths still suffered and died horrible deaths, right? If that suffering and death somehow more meaningful without God?By no means. If there is no God, then we're living in a cosmic joke with no punchline. We can either respond with suicide or try to find some subjective reason to carry on.

Adrift
11-11-2014, 05:03 PM
I do agree that a reasonable attempt at reconciling the problem of evil is to limit God's omnipotence in some way. If it is ultimately self-limiting then the problem only goes back one step. Why would God knowingly limit his ability to act when he was aware what the consequences would be?

I don't know that I would agree that by legally limiting his interaction, God is necessarily limiting his omnipotence. For instance, I don't think God was any less omnipotent when he made his legally binding covenant with Israel. But maybe there's not a better way of putting it, so I won't debate the point.

But I believe (or hope) that I answered your question in my first post in this thread.

pancreasman
11-11-2014, 05:06 PM
But I believe (or hope) that I answered your question in my first post in this thread.

You answered it, but I don't like your answer. :lol:

Adrift
11-11-2014, 05:14 PM
By no means. If there is no God, then we're living in a cosmic joke with no punchline. We can either respond with suicide or try to find some subjective reason to carry on.

On a purely intellectual level, and separate from thoughts about the "god of this world", does the Problem of Evil preclude the existence of any god altogether? Is an evil god or an apathetic god at all conceivable to you?

Adrift
11-11-2014, 05:14 PM
You answered it, but I don't like your answer. :lol:

That's fair. :teeth:

JohnnyP
11-11-2014, 05:16 PM
Why would God knowingly limit his ability to act when he was aware what the consequences would be?

In Christianity, Jesus is fully God and fully human, able as God to access his omni-potence/presence/science at any time but limited himself to be a human able to be tempted to selfishness and sin, even to the point of being aware of His own death and suffering as a human. One reason was to exalt the human to be the best he could be as a human by his own free will, not as a robot or being controlled by a "Sky Daddy." To help everyone else realize who they can be as a human instead of crying out, why can't I be like God and end suffering when I want it to end?

Which is kind of what's going on here, some think they can be God better than God can, without actually having that power and instead suffering like Jesus did. Which goes back to why Adam and Eve fell in the first place:

Genesis 3:5 ...ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Kelp(p)
11-11-2014, 05:26 PM
Is an evil god or an apathetic god at all conceivable to you?Very much so. I think it might even be likely. Though if it came to that, I would also be tempted to try OVT or Harold Kushner's "wants to help but isn't powerful enough" God.

Kelp(p)
11-11-2014, 05:54 PM
I'm not talking about physical form, as you said like gas or liquid, but spirit. God's limited presence is here by the Word and Spirit. If the infinite presence of God weren't withdrawn and was everywhere permeating everything, we'd all be God and that's pantheism.And yet the Bible says that God is closer to us that our own breath. I interpret omnipresence as being about God's knowledge and His reach. For example, the Eastern Orthodox believe that the Divine Liturgy is essentially a trip to Heaven in which the congregation is united invisibly with God and the Saints. It's not that He is always with us, we are always with Him. So, I see the idea that there was ever a "there-ness" of God that needed to move aside for us to exist to be vague and unnecessary.




Then along came quantum mechanics. When physicists observed that behavior at the atomic level was fundamentally indeterminate, the universal validity of classical physics, as well as philosophical determinism came into question. -Source (http://www.realclearscience.com/articles/2013/04/03/quantum_mechanics_supports_free_will_106499.html)I disagree with that conclusion. It works for a technical definition of the word "determinism" but in practice it just means that our behavior might ultimately be completely random. That's not free will.




But then after God all parents should be blamed for continuing the suffering by procreating? If you have kids do you regret it, since you could prevent them and countless descendants from suffering?
I don't have kids. It is a highly interesting question, though. Maybe it would be better if we just let the species die off, a mercy killing of sorts. I'm not sure on the topic.



You wouldn't exist as you anymore, same as if you never existed. I'd rather live my life suffering and all.Do you have a terminal disease? Ever been in a famine? Ever been tortured? Ever lost a child? I haven't. And I'm not sure any of us has the right to be glib about something like that unless we've really suffered.

NormATive
11-11-2014, 06:02 PM
So God is just an idea like Santa Claus and the Spirit of Christmas who inspire people to do good things, not a real deity that cares about or interacts with the world. Interesting.

I think it makes more sense than a being who burns humans alive like a little boy among the ants with a magnifying glass on a sunny day.

NORM

Darth Executor
11-11-2014, 06:53 PM
I'm willing to entertain the one about Adam and Eve. I don't consider the abortion debate a relevant tangent because it's using an example that not everybody accepts is an evil in the first place. We have enough noncontroversial cases to use.

Ok then, but I could just as easily claim the Holocaust isn't evil either. Actually not just claim, but demonstrate it from a classical Jewish perspective. Part of the demonstration would come from Norm's post at that.

JohnnyP
11-11-2014, 11:16 PM
I think it makes more sense than a being who burns humans alive like a little boy among the ants with a magnifying glass on a sunny day.

NORM

If you're talking about Eternal Conscious Torment, I rather believe in Annihilation. If you're talking about bad stuff that goes on in life right now, either view of God is allowing evil anyway.

seer
11-12-2014, 04:47 AM
How does our moral freedom effect earthquakes which cause undeserved suffering?

Look at Jesus. He was an example of what a man of perfect faith could do. And as such had the power over nature, illness and even death. I suspect that if we did not fall we to would have developed these abilities as our faith deepened. So it still all goes back to our rebellion.

seer
11-12-2014, 05:13 AM
So why do you refuse to show any sort of discernible love to people who simply hold different political views than your own, and instead say things like you wish they'd be thrown to the Taliban/ISIS?

First peg, I do show love to those who hold different political views - primarily by showing them the error of their ways. Second, I'm still human and that guy seriously pissed me off. It was a knee jerk reaction on my part - I have been known to do that.



What redeeming qualities were there in the suffering of tens of thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands) of Chinese women who were brutally raped, genitally mutilated and killed by Japanese soldiers in the 1937 Nanjing Massacre? Or in the suffering of the countless Native Americans who were poisoned by American soldiers and slaughtered or forcibly exiled? Or of the suffering of the Christian-raised teenagers who realize that they experience feelings of attraction towards people of the same sex, are told by church leaders and parents that being gay is shameful and sinful, and tearfully pray in desperation to God every day and night asking to be changed, but nothing happens and they continually hear those voices get louder and louder until eventually they're drowning so deeply in shame and fear and anxiety and self-hatred that they end up taking their own lives?

You can not know these things peg. For instance we had a friend that ate his 38 pistol a couple of years back. It had a profound effect on all of us. It caused us who knew him to take stock of our own lives and hopefully to better read the signs of chronic depression or hopelessness in others. As finite human beings we can never know the ripple effect of any given action. Listen, in my universe men can have hope - in yours, there is no hope - all ends in death. Having said that - there is an obvious lesson in all the evils you listed - that there is something really wrong in the world. That should wake us all up - but in a godless universe all your listed evils are perfectly natural - just animals doing what animals do.


I'm sure sentiments like "the depths of God's love and forgiveness can be displayed in a fallen world" are comforting to you personally, but I'm just not sure how that applies to or can be seen by those people whom I mentioned. They certainly didn't seem to sense the presence of God or his love and forgiveness in the midst of their suffering, even when (like the last case) they were desperately praying for a response.

The fact is, for most of history, most men have had a sense of God. A sense that this world is not all there is - they had hope. For instance look at the Native Americans you spoke of - they had a well developed theology of an after life and of the "Great Spirit" i.e. supreme being.

JohnnyP
11-12-2014, 11:32 AM
And yet the Bible says that God is closer to us that our own breath. I interpret omnipresence as being about God's knowledge and His reach. For example, the Eastern Orthodox believe that the Divine Liturgy is essentially a trip to Heaven in which the congregation is united invisibly with God and the Saints. It's not that He is always with us, we are always with Him. So, I see the idea that there was ever a "there-ness" of God that needed to move aside for us to exist to be vague and unnecessary.

If the infinite presence of God was everywhere then everything would be God, such the need for a limited presence. For example Jesus as kinotic God always describes the infinite Father God as being in Heaven, not everywhere in our realm.


I disagree with that conclusion. It works for a technical definition of the word "determinism" but in practice it just means that our behavior might ultimately be completely random. That's not free will.

Combined with "free won't" it would mean exerting free will against random behavior.


I don't have kids. It is a highly interesting question, though. Maybe it would be better if we just let the species die off, a mercy killing of sorts. I'm not sure on the topic.

Do you have a terminal disease? Ever been in a famine? Ever been tortured? Ever lost a child? I haven't. And I'm not sure any of us has the right to be glib about something like that unless we've really suffered.

Sure I've suffered, took care of my mother watching her deteriorate until she died. Other things I won't get into. I haven't suffered as much as some who may indeed wish they'd never been born, but I've suffered more than others. At this point I'd rather live with suffering than not exist at all. I suppose if you reply back you feel the same way?

Kelp(p)
11-12-2014, 11:50 AM
Look at Jesus. He was an example of what a man of perfect faith could do. And as such had the power over nature, illness and even death. I suspect that if we did not fall we to would have developed these abilities as our faith deepened. So it still all goes back to our rebellion.That's a dangerous line of thought.

I grew up Pentecostal and watched my aunt die of breast cancer convinced that God would heal her (she did also seek medical treatment, in case you were wondering. We weren't that charismatic). Lack of faith in the heart of a person who was not healed was the first excuse the faith healers always jumped to. The second was, "Well, you must not have repented of all your sins, then." That attitude destroys faiths and lives. Just ask J.P. Holding.

seer
11-12-2014, 12:01 PM
That's a dangerous line of thought.

I grew up Pentecostal and watched my aunt die of breast cancer convinced that God would heal her (she did also seek medical treatment, in case you were wondering. We weren't that charismatic). Lack of faith in the heart of a person who was not healed was the first excuse the faith healers always jumped to. The second was, "Well, you must not have repented of all your sins, then." That attitude destroys faiths and lives. Just ask J.P. Holding.

No, my point was in the context of the fall not happening. Since it did, we can not presently reach such heights. Though scripture does suggest that greater faith can lead to greater acts.

Watchman Nee's The Latent Power of the Soul has an interesting take on all this: http://www.worldinvisible.com/library/nee/5f00.0634/5f00.0634.c.htm

Kelp(p)
11-12-2014, 12:02 PM
If the infinite presence of God was everywhere then everything would be God, such the need for a limited presence. For example Jesus as kinotic God always describes the infinite Father God as being in Heaven, not everywhere in our realm.If that which is outside of God is automatically imperfect then sanctification, or even getting better, is impossible without becoming Him. That's getting into Sufi Islam territory.




Combined with "free won't" it would mean exerting free will against random behavior.Our brains are made of the same fluctuating particles as anything else. Even the very of a "free won't" could be derived from the chaos.




Sure I've suffered, took care of my mother watching her deteriorate until she died. Other things I won't get into. I haven't suffered as much as some who may indeed wish they'd never been born, but I've suffered more than others. At this point I'd rather live with suffering than not exist at all. I suppose if you reply back you feel the same way?I haven't suffered as much as that. Perhaps, then, we are both unqualified to tell someone else that human life must endure at all costs. I personally don't want to die, either. But I recognize the complete legitimacy of some people's wish to do so given the worldview situation.

shunyadragon
11-12-2014, 03:34 PM
So, in the Baha'i Faith, if a person were to molest or murder a child, that would not be considered evil? And if there is no evil, would it also be correct to say that in the Baha'i Faith good does not exist either?

Your conflating the necessity of the existence of evil with the view that there must be a specific evil force for humans to disobey God's Law and commit evil acts. The fallible human nature is capable of doing wrong regardless of whether Go(s) nor evil dark forces exist.

shunyadragon
11-12-2014, 03:45 PM
And if there is no evil, would it also be correct to say that in the Baha'i Faith good does not exist either?

The existence of God, and God's Creation and Revelation is most definitely not dependent on the existence of evil forces.

Catholicity
11-12-2014, 04:27 PM
That is often true. Though the attempt to continue to view the God who lets toddlers get cancer as my loving Father has certainly caused me a fair amount of mental suffering over the years- sometimes leading to self-harm and suicidal thoughts. I'm sure I'm not the only one.
I think you have something correct. Viewing God as the "angry God, nice God" Doesn't work, but its REALLY common to the human race and definately to five point Calvinism, Black and White thinking etc.... Pm me if you need to ask questions about mental illness and being a Christian I get it. And its no different than other illnesses. Depending on the genetic code we are given determines the propensity of diseased traits we inherit. the same code determines if we get lung cancer after smoking etc.... Do I think God created and "gave cancer" to people? No. I think God set the world into motion and allowed it to evolve into what it is. Every human has cells that are capable of evolving into cancerous cells. My whole family has had some type of skin cancer. I anticipate the near 100 percent likelihood of my having some type of lesion removed that is cancerous. ( it will be either basal cell or melanoma, but given the kind of moles I have and my age melanoma, so I watch my skin all the time.)
I can't help or control these genetics, its a blend of who married who, racial mix etc. I have no control over who married who, their genetics, and really simply put I don't think that God sits and interferes with people's marriages and commands them to marry ONE PERSON and that's perfection. (I'm not into purity culture, I think its a load of crap) And I think God loves his creation too much to order it. He loves us so much he won't try to control us. When people tried to force me to become their robot I was SO unhappy. I ran away and my life got worse before it got better. I couldn't have predicted it but that's what happened. I think God sort of does the same thing. Not that I have it all worked out at all. Heck I have a gazillion questions and Even on my best day I'm not sure Christianity has all the answers. But this is the best I can come up with for my understanding of life.

Adrift
11-12-2014, 05:18 PM
Your conflating the necessity of the existence of evil with the view that there must be a specific evil force for humans to disobey God's Law and commit evil acts. The fallible human nature is capable of doing wrong regardless of whether Go(s) nor evil dark forces exist.

I'm not conflating anything. In the post I replied to, you wrote:


Simply in the view of the Baha'i Faith evil dose not exist. Ancient world views describe evil as the adversary world of their own religious view, and the dark at the end on the cave they did not understand. Time to light a torch and leave Plato's cave.

Your reply was the sort of nonsensical, nailing-jello-to-the-wall sort of answer I should have expected.

Adrift
11-12-2014, 05:25 PM
The existence of God, and God's Creation and Revelation is most definitely not dependent on the existence of evil forces.

Yeah. That's not what I asked. Don't worry about it.

JohnnyP
11-12-2014, 05:33 PM
If that which is outside of God is automatically imperfect then sanctification, or even getting better, is impossible without becoming Him. That's getting into Sufi Islam territory.

I wouldn't say that, total assimilation back into God would defeat the entire purpose of our existence. What we're striving for is to be at the place where Jesus was at: he was human and tempted by sin in all ways as we are, but didn't by his own human will of relying on the Infinite Father God not to. But he was also kinotic God, he could choose to sin and also take back infinite God power at any time and then we'd have a Loki as depicted in the movies and an evil God.

So the point we're going to get to in Revelation unless we go to the Lake of Fire where evil resides, is doing good as Jesus did while not being infinite God, yet without all the suffering and temptation he faced as a man, those things are passed away. That's why I would refer to Jesus as the firstborn and template for all creation, because he was in the beginning and is at the end when that canvas I described is filled in. We are creation simply reaping rewards of the process.


Our brains are made of the same fluctuating particles as anything else. Even the very of a "free won't" could be derived from the chaos.

The very fact that we are here questioning why things are the way they are, and not just going with the momentary fluctuations of life to maintain existence, indicates that we have the ability to step outside that box so to speak. Free will in part is about choosing to think beyond what appears to be reality rather than instinctively reacting to it as animals do. That's why in the Bible Gentiles without God are often described as Beasts, because they are unable to conceptualize an existence that doesn't either involve motivation by instinct that has to do with this reality, or else total assimilation back into the gods they believe in, like God just puked them out and will eat them back up again. Maybe over and over. Whether it's atheists with no gods or Hindus with many gods. They can't seem to find a happy medium.


I haven't suffered as much as that. Perhaps, then, we are both unqualified to tell someone else that human life must endure at all costs. I personally don't want to die, either. But I recognize the complete legitimacy of some people's wish to do so given the worldview situation.

I think for example if Jews in the Holocaust died praying and having faith until the bitter end without killing themselves, that's a good enough example for many people to hang in there. But that's between each person and God in my view.

Raphael
11-12-2014, 05:42 PM
No, my point was in the context of the fall not happening. Since it did, we can not presently reach such heights. Though scripture does suggest that greater faith can lead to greater acts.

Watchman Nee's The Latent Power of the Soul has an interesting take on all this: http://www.worldinvisible.com/library/nee/5f00.0634/5f00.0634.c.htm

Watchman Nee hates TWEb.

http://www3.telus.net/trbrooks/The_Crow.htm

Kelp(p)
11-12-2014, 05:48 PM
I think you have something correct. Viewing God as the "angry God, nice God" Doesn't work, but its REALLY common to the human race and definately to five point Calvinism, Black and White thinking etc.... Pm me if you need to ask questions about mental illness and being a Christian I get it. And its no different than other illnesses. Depending on the genetic code we are given determines the propensity of diseased traits we inherit. the same code determines if we get lung cancer after smoking etc.... Do I think God created and "gave cancer" to people? No. I think God set the world into motion and allowed it to evolve into what it is. Every human has cells that are capable of evolving into cancerous cells. My whole family has had some type of skin cancer. I anticipate the near 100 percent likelihood of my having some type of lesion removed that is cancerous. ( it will be either basal cell or melanoma, but given the kind of moles I have and my age melanoma, so I watch my skin all the time.)
I can't help or control these genetics, its a blend of who married who, racial mix etc. I have no control over who married who, their genetics, and really simply put I don't think that God sits and interferes with people's marriages and commands them to marry ONE PERSON and that's perfection. (I'm not into purity culture, I think its a load of crap) And I think God loves his creation too much to order it. He loves us so much he won't try to control us. When people tried to force me to become their robot I was SO unhappy. I ran away and my life got worse before it got better. I couldn't have predicted it but that's what happened. I think God sort of does the same thing. Not that I have it all worked out at all. Heck I have a gazillion questions and Even on my best day I'm not sure Christianity has all the answers. But this is the best I can come up with for my understanding of life.
You make some good points. I'll think about that. Thanks.

shunyadragon
11-12-2014, 08:02 PM
I'm not conflating anything. In the post I replied to, you wrote:

Your reply was the sort of nonsensical, nailing-jello-to-the-wall sort of answer I should have expected.

Yes that is what I wrote, and your response did not make any sense. The concept of evil in Christian beliefs does not exist in the Baha'i Faith. Fallen angels, and evil conspiracies tempting humans since Adam and Eve are simply ancient myths.

Make your posts clear, and you will get a clear response.

Kelp(p)
11-12-2014, 08:13 PM
Yes that is what I wrote, and your response did not make any sense. The concept of evil in Christian beliefs does not exist in the Baha'i Faith. Fallen angels, and evil conspiracies tempting humans since Adam and Eve are simply ancient myths.

Make your posts clear, and you will get a clear response.You guys are talking past one another. Adrift wants to know if the Baha'i believe in sin, not in the "kingdom of darkness."

JohnnyP
11-12-2014, 08:23 PM
Yes that is what I wrote, and your response did not make any sense. The concept of evil in Christian beliefs does not exist in the Baha'i Faith. Fallen angels, and evil conspiracies tempting humans since Adam and Eve are simply ancient myths.

Make your posts clear, and you will get a clear response.

Adrift is not talking about external demons, but rather the idea that:

In contrast to a number of other religious doctrines and philosophies, the Bahá'í Faith does not teach that the physical desires of human beings are "evil" or "bad." -Source (http://info.bahai.org/article-1-4-0-9.html)

But further on:

In other words, the key to understanding Bahá'í morality and ethics is to be found in the Bahá'í notion of spiritual progress: that which is conducive to spiritual progress is good, and whatever tends to hinder spiritual progress is bad. -Source (http://info.bahai.org/article-1-4-0-9.html)

Are you able to explain why Bahá'í introduces us to the notion that bad desire is not bad but then goes on to admit that bad desire is bad? Seems like a bait and switch tactic to me unless you can redeem it.

Adrift
11-12-2014, 08:42 PM
You guys are talking past one another. Adrift wants to know if the Baha'i believe in sin, not in the "kingdom of darkness."

I'm not so concerned with terminology like "sin". A lot of religions reject the concept of "sin" (or they just reject the word itself for being too Christian, but have other ways of essentially defining the same thing).

When someone says, "in the view of the Baha'i Faith evil dose not exist", that's a pretty absolute statement in my opinion. I'm naturally curious about the moral beliefs of that religion, and how they justify those beliefs without concepts like "good" or "evil". Its been my experience that even those who say they reject concepts like "morality" altogether are still horrified by the thought of morally evil acts.

But thank you for your help Kelp(p). If he thought my original 2 sentence post was unclear, its unlikely I'll get a straight answer (though I doubt that was the reason for the silly reply I received). Past experience has taught me that I shouldn't have expected one to begin with. :smile:

JohnnyP
11-12-2014, 08:50 PM
It's kinda like talking with Mormons, you dig a little too deep and they go all blooey all you. That's all they can do.


Bahá'u'lláh said that pride, or self-centeredness, is one of the greatest hindrances to spiritual progress. Pride represents an exaggerated sense of one's own importance in the universe and leads to an attitude of superiority over others. -Source (http://info.bahai.org/article-1-4-0-9.html)

In this way, Bahá'ís consider that the Manifestation Bahá'u'lláh fulfills the promise of the return of Christ even though Bahá'u'lláh and Jesus have distinct individual souls and therefore distinct human personalities. -Source (http://info.bahai.org/article-1-4-0-3.html)

Matthew 24:23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.

Kelp(p)
11-12-2014, 09:04 PM
I'm not so concerned with terminology like "sin". A lot of religions reject the concept of "sin" (or they just reject the word itself for being too Christian, but have other ways of essentially defining the same thing).

When someone says, "in the view of the Baha'i Faith evil dose not exist", that's a pretty absolute statement in my opinion. I'm naturally curious about the moral beliefs of that religion, and how they justify those beliefs without concepts like "good" or "evil". Its been my experience that even those who say they reject concepts like "morality" altogether are still horrified by the thought of morally evil acts.

But thank you for your help Kelp(p). If he thought my original 2 sentence post was unclear, its unlikely I'll get a straight answer (though I doubt that was the reason for the silly reply I received). Past experience has taught me that I shouldn't have expected one to begin with. :smile:
Ok. No prob.

shunyadragon
11-13-2014, 03:50 AM
It's kinda like talking with Mormons, you dig a little too deep and they go all blooey all you. That's all they can do.


Bahá'u'lláh said that pride, or self-centeredness, is one of the greatest hindrances to spiritual progress. Pride represents an exaggerated sense of one's own importance in the universe and leads to an attitude of superiority over others. -Source (http://info.bahai.org/article-1-4-0-9.html)

In this way, Bahá'ís consider that the Manifestation Bahá'u'lláh fulfills the promise of the return of Christ even though Bahá'u'lláh and Jesus have distinct individual souls and therefore distinct human personalities. -Source (http://info.bahai.org/article-1-4-0-3.html)

Good references

[quote] Matthew 24:23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.\\

Good reference. Baha'u'llah does not claim to Jesus Christ.

seer
11-13-2014, 04:35 AM
Watchman Nee hates TWEb.

http://www3.telus.net/trbrooks/The_Crow.htm

What the heck was that all about!

seer
11-13-2014, 04:41 AM
Good reference. Baha'u'llah does not claim to Jesus Christ.

Really? Doesn't he say that he fulfills the "second coming" of Christ? And that is just plain false.

shunyadragon
11-13-2014, 05:20 AM
Really? Doesn't he say that he fulfills the "second coming" of Christ? And that is just plain false.

Seer, read carfully the references above. Reading comprehension seems to be an ongoing problem for you in many threads. It is not a matter of whether you believe it true or not, just simply one of reading comprehension.

Fulfillment of prophecy does not mean that Baha'u'llah was the person of Jesus Christ. Biblical prophecy describes both Jesus Christ and the latter messiah as descendants from Abraham, and refers to more then one Messiah, not the same person

seer
11-13-2014, 05:57 AM
Seer, read carfully the references above. Reading comprehension seems to be an ongoing problem for you in many threads. It is not a matter of whether you believe it true or not, just simply one of reading comprehension.

Fulfillment of prophecy does not mean that Baha'u'llah was the person of Jesus Christ. Biblical prophecy describes both Jesus Christ and the latter messiah as descendants from Abraham, and refers to more then one Messiah, not the same person

I did not said that Baha'u'llah was the person of Jesus Christ but that he does not fulfill the requirements for the "second coming."

Kelp(p)
11-13-2014, 08:52 AM
Good reference. Baha'u'llah does not claim to Jesus Christ.
Sorry, just had to :hehe:

2630

shunyadragon
11-13-2014, 11:00 AM
I did not said that Baha'u'llah was the person of Jesus Christ but that he does not fulfill the requirements for the "second coming."

OK! Then just say that. That is not what you previously stated. I am full aware that you do not believe it.

shunyadragon
11-13-2014, 11:03 AM
Sorry, just had to :hehe:

2630

Suit yourself. Not much meaning in a dialogue except possibly ridicule.

JohnnyP
11-13-2014, 12:51 PM
Good reference. Baha'u'llah does not claim to Jesus Christ.

My apogizes for being sarcastic. But Matthew 24:23 seems to be referring to anyone claiming to be Christ the promised Messiah of David, not someone claiming to be Jesus, seems kind of hard to ignore.

NormATive
11-13-2014, 12:56 PM
My apogizes for being sarcastic. But Matthew 24:23 seems to be referring to anyone claiming to be Christ the promised Messiah of David, not someone claiming to be Jesus, seems kind of hard to ignore.

It's not surprising considering that the Christian Testament is about, well; ..promoting Christianity as the one True faith, and Jesus as the promised Messiah.

NORM

Mountain Man
11-13-2014, 01:36 PM
Whenever the problem of evil comes up, I'm reminded of one of my favorite jokes:

"When I get to heaven, I'm going to ask God why he didn't do more to stop suffering in the world."
"I'm afraid he's going to ask me the same thing."

This world would obviously be different if we were all living in perfect harmony with God, and that seems to have been the original intention until Adam and Eve introduced sin into the world. Furthermore, the ability to sin is essential for our good acts to have any meaning. A Stepford wife who is programmed to say, "I love you," is not expressing any real affection because she is incapable of withholding the statement, or choosing to slap you across the face instead. Alternatively, if God created a suprenatural force field to protect us from harm intended by others, it would remove any need for moral growth. We would never have to aspire to be good because we would never be able to do anything bad.

So what about the baby who gets cancer, or the day care center obliterated by a landslide? Those ultimately come back to man, at one time or another, making an imperfect and possibly sinful decision. Our cells, and the cells we pass to our offspring, have become contaminated by our choice of envirionments, choice of foods, choice of partners, etc. A city is destroyed by an earthquake because at some point people decided to live there (including those well aware of the risks).

Ultimately, everything imperfect and horrible in this world is all on man and the choices he continues to make. But on the flipside, there is also a lot of good happening in this world because of man, so it goes both ways.

Raphael
11-13-2014, 01:45 PM
What the heck was that all about!

Was just an anecdote.

Raphael
11-13-2014, 01:47 PM
Whenever the problem of evil comes up, I'm reminded of one of my favorite jokes:

"When I get to heaven, I'm going to ask God why he didn't do more to stop suffering in the world."
"I'm afraid he's going to ask me the same thing."
Matthew West has a song about that.

"Do Something"
I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”
www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_RjndG0IX8

JohnnyP
11-13-2014, 02:23 PM
It's not surprising considering that the Christian Testament is about, well; ..promoting Christianity as the one True faith, and Jesus as the promised Messiah.

NORM

Where did they know about Jesus in the first place if not from the NT? If from the NT then it's cherrypicking some verses to support Bahá'í but ignoring others.


Moses, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, and Bahá'u'lláh were all different personalities, separate individual realities. Their oneness lies in the fact that Each manifested and revealed the qualities and attributes of God to the same degree: the spirit of God which dwelled within any one of Them was identical to that which dwelled in the others. -Source (http://info.bahai.org/article-1-4-0-3.html)

Kelp(p)
11-13-2014, 02:41 PM
Suit yourself. Not much meaning in a dialogue except possibly ridicule.No ridicule intended. Just my obsession with horrid puns.

Kelp(p)
11-13-2014, 03:16 PM
Whenever the problem of evil comes up, I'm reminded of one of my favorite jokes:

"When I get to heaven, I'm going to ask God why he didn't do more to stop suffering in the world."
"I'm afraid he's going to ask me the same thing."

This world would obviously be different if we were all living in perfect harmony with God, and that seems to have been the original intention until Adam and Eve introduced sin into the world. Furthermore, the ability to sin is essential for our good acts to have any meaning. A Stepford wife who is programmed to say, "I love you," is not expressing any real affection because she is incapable of withholding the statement, or choosing to slap you across the face instead. Alternatively, if God created a suprenatural force field to protect us from harm intended by others, it would remove any need for moral growth. We would never have to aspire to be good because we would never be able to do anything bad.I'm not convinced that God instilling love, appreciation for His holiness, and the other desired qualities in our minds miraculously from the start is necessarily making our affection un-genuine. If you're a Calvinist, then you already believe that God installs these things in you at regeneration with no problems. If you're a synergist, then you still believe that we would be incapable of saying "yes" to further grace without God deciding to give us the choice. Either way, you already believe in God "programming" us to an extent. There's really no need for costly object lessons when you have an all-powerful lecturer. The whole scheme is just wasteful and unnecessarily painful.



So what about the baby who gets cancer, or the day care center obliterated by a landslide? Those ultimately come back to man, at one time or another, making an imperfect and possibly sinful decision. Our cells, and the cells we pass to our offspring, have become contaminated by our choice of envirionments, choice of foods, choice of partners, etc. A city is destroyed by an earthquake because at some point people decided to live there (including those well aware of the risks).

Ultimately, everything imperfect and horrible in this world is all on man and the choices he continues to make. But on the flipside, there is also a lot of good happening in this world because of man, so it goes both ways.When a building is burning, we don't blame a random bystander for not turning into an uncommon hero and rushing in to save the survivors. We expect the fire fighters to do it because they have the superior skills and equipment.

If God is infinitely better equipped to stop suffering than we are, then it is wrong for him to sit back and ask us to do it for Him.

shunyadragon
11-13-2014, 03:25 PM
My apogizes for being sarcastic. But Matthew 24:23 seems to be referring to anyone claiming to be Christ the promised Messiah of David, not someone claiming to be Jesus, seems kind of hard to ignore.

Well . . . ah there is the promise of the return of the Messiah from the House of David, so by this line of reasoning all those who claim to be the Messiah will be rejected regardless, including the one who makes the true claim.

JohnnyP
11-13-2014, 03:57 PM
Well . . . ah there is the promise of the return of the Messiah from the House of David, so by this line of reasoning all those who claim to be the Messiah will be rejected regardless, including the one who makes the true claim.

Nope:


John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

Isaiah 11:10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.

Bahá'u'lláh died and as I can see didn't accomplish any of the prophecies while Jesus did in a big way, now over half the world believes in the God of Israel.

Coming up with a newfangled interpretation of things doesn't make a Messiah.

shunyadragon
11-13-2014, 04:06 PM
Nope:


John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

Isaiah 11:10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.

Bahá'u'lláh died and as I can see didn't accomplish any of the prophecies while Jesus did in a big way, now over half the world believes in the God of Israel.

Coming up with a newfangled interpretation of things doesn't make a Messiah.

I acknowledge that you are non-believer upfront, and of course the Jews say the same of Jesus. I believe that Baha'u'llah has fulfilled the prophecies, and revealed the moral and ethical standard for the New Age that is now the standard of the world.

Mountain Man
11-13-2014, 04:47 PM
I'm not convinced that God instilling love, appreciation for His holiness, and the other desired qualities in our minds miraculously from the start is necessarily making our affection un-genuine. If you're a Calvinist, then you already believe that God installs these things in you at regeneration with no problems. If you're a synergist, then you still believe that we would be incapable of saying "yes" to further grace without God deciding to give us the choice. Either way, you already believe in God "programming" us to an extent. There's really no need for costly object lessons when you have an all-powerful lecturer. The whole scheme is just wasteful and unnecessarily painful.

When a building is burning, we don't blame a random bystander for not turning into an uncommon hero and rushing in to save the survivors. We expect the fire fighters to do it because they have the superior skills and equipment.

If God is infinitely better equipped to stop suffering than we are, then it is wrong for him to sit back and ask us to do it for Him.
I'm not sure what you mean when you say that I "already believe in God 'programming' us to an extent," because I don't believe that God has in any way artificially constrained our ability to make freewill decisions. You say that being programmed to only recognize God's holiness would not make our appreciation less genuine, but how could it not? Would a robot woman who is programmed to only express affection be capable of giving you a genuine compliment? Someone telling you, "You look great!" only has genuine meaning if they are also capable of saying, "You look like the backside of a pig!"

Regarding your burning building analogy, it seems you completely missed my point. First, man is ultimately the cause of all evil in the world (in this case, a burning building); and secondly, a God who solves all of our problems for us removes the need for us to do good or improve ourselves morally.

Kelp(p)
11-13-2014, 05:11 PM
I'm not sure what you mean when you say that I "already believe in God 'programming' us to an extent," because I don't believe that God has in any way artificially constrained our ability to make freewill decisions. You say that being programmed to only recognize God's holiness would not make our appreciation less genuine, but how could it not? Would a robot woman who is programmed to only express affection be capable of giving you a genuine compliment? Someone telling you, "You look great!" only has genuine meaning if they are also capable of saying, "You look like the backside of a pig!"All Christians (or at least all Protestants) who aren't Pelagian believe in God programming us to one extent or another. He overcomes total depravity, or being dead and incapable of responding to Him positively, to give us the ability to choose Him (or, in the case of the Calvinist view of regeneration, He just straight up gives us the desire to serve him). If it isn't a problem there, I don't see how it's a problem in my hypothetical world.


Regarding your burning building analogy, it seems you completely missed my point. First, man is ultimately the cause of all evil in the world (in this case, a burning building); and secondly, a God who solves all of our problems for us removes the need for us to do good or improve ourselves morally.Man is the cause, but God can thwart us from causing suffering and then teach us the consequences without anybody actually getting hurt (or getting hurt and then healed, raised from the dead, whatever).

But no, God should have just let Gideon face the Midianites all on his own. It builds character, right?

seer
11-14-2014, 05:10 AM
All Christians (or at least all Protestants) who aren't Pelagian believe in God programming us to one extent or another. He overcomes total depravity, or being dead and incapable of responding to Him positively, to give us the ability to choose Him (or, in the case of the Calvinist view of regeneration, He just straight up gives us the desire to serve him). If it isn't a problem there, I don't see how it's a problem in my hypothetical world.

No, in Arminian theology prevenient grace helps lessen the effects of sin so one can actually exercise their God given freedom of will.



Man is the cause, but God can thwart us from causing suffering and then teach us the consequences without anybody actually getting hurt (or getting hurt and then healed, raised from the dead, whatever).

Nonsense, if no one gets hurt there are no actual consequences. Again, it is one thing to tell someone about consequences it is a completely different animal to experience those consequences yourself.

Mountain Man
11-14-2014, 06:03 AM
All Christians (or at least all Protestants) who aren't Pelagian believe in God programming us to one extent or another. He overcomes total depravity, or being dead and incapable of responding to Him positively, to give us the ability to choose Him (or, in the case of the Calvinist view of regeneration, He just straight up gives us the desire to serve him). If it isn't a problem there, I don't see how it's a problem in my hypothetical world.

Man is the cause, but God can thwart us from causing suffering and then teach us the consequences without anybody actually getting hurt (or getting hurt and then healed, raised from the dead, whatever).

But no, God should have just let Gideon face the Midianites all on his own. It builds character, right?
I said that I don't believe in a God who artificially contrains our ability to make freewill decisions (largely because there is nothing in the Bible to support this conclusion). Your examples of "programming" don't contradict my belief.

As for Gideon, he succeeded because he obeyed God. He could have chosen to ignore God and fight the battles on his own, but the outcome would have almost certainly been different. This example doesn't support your argument.

Finally, in a consequence-free world where God always intervenes, what reason is there to strive to do good even if God says, "If I hadn't intervened then something bad would have happened"? A man living in such a world would never see the need for his own redemption. It would almost make more sense at that point to just create unfeeling amoral robots.

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 09:40 AM
I said that I don't believe in a God who artificially contrains our ability to make freewill decisions (largely because there is nothing in the Bible to support this conclusion). Your examples of "programming" don't contradict my belief.Define "constrain." Compatibilistic accounts of free will hold that God can change our desires and yet leave us free to do whatever we happen to desire.


As for Gideon, he succeeded because he obeyed God. He could have chosen to ignore God and fight the battles on his own, but the outcome would have almost certainly been different. This example doesn't support your argument.That's my point. Gideon is praised for letting God do the fighting for him and yet you don't disparage his character. Why not say God should have not even told him to do the whole lamps and swords routine because the experience of a route would have built more character? In my ideal world, everybody is Gideon all the time.


Finally, in a consequence-free world where God always intervenes, what reason is there to strive to do good even if God says, "If I hadn't intervened then something bad would have happened"? A man living in such a world would never see the need for his own redemption. It would almost make more sense at that point to just create unfeeling amoral robots.Perhaps you're right but even if I accepted that, there's still far too much suffering in this world to make the idea that a loving God is behind it make sense. Why not have just a handful of cases of actual suffering to use as object lessons? Certainly this world could have done without something as enormous as the Holocaust, to name just one.

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 09:46 AM
No, in Arminian theology prevenient grace helps lessen the effects of sin so one can actually exercise their God given freedom of will.
Yes, I suppose my schema can't fit an Arminian universe like I thought it might have.

fm93
11-14-2014, 09:58 AM
I said that I don't believe in a God who artificially contrains our ability to make freewill decisions (largely because there is nothing in the Bible to support this conclusion). Your examples of "programming" don't contradict my belief.

As for Gideon, he succeeded because he obeyed God. He could have chosen to ignore God and fight the battles on his own, but the outcome would have almost certainly been different. This example doesn't support your argument.

Finally, in a consequence-free world where God always intervenes, what reason is there to strive to do good even if God says, "If I hadn't intervened then something bad would have happened"? A man living in such a world would never see the need for his own redemption. It would almost make more sense at that point to just create unfeeling amoral robots.
This is fine in general principle, but did those tens/hundreds of thousands of people in Nanjing really need to be raped, forced to commit incest and necrophilia, genitally mutilated, and killed for the value of free will to be fully expressed, or for them to see their need for their own redemption/moral growth? Were the unspeakable suffering and evil that they experienced the results of them making an imperfect or sinful decision? Were there any redeeming qualities in their suffering and consequent deaths?

I don't have a problem with the free will defense prima facie, and I don't expect God to intervene in everything, but when something horrifically, stomach-churningly evil like that happens, I find myself bewildered as to why God evidently didn't find that significant enough to provide intervention.

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 10:16 AM
This is fine in general principle, but did those tens/hundreds of thousands of people in Nanjing really need to be raped, forced to commit incest and necrophilia, genitally mutilated, and killed for the value of free will to be fully expressed, or for them to see their need for their own redemption/moral growth? Were the unspeakable suffering and evil that they experienced the results of them making an imperfect or sinful decision? Were there any redeeming qualities in their suffering and consequent deaths?

I don't have a problem with the free will defense prima facie, and I don't expect God to intervene in everything, but when something horrifically, stomach-churningly evil like that happens, I find myself bewildered as to why God evidently didn't find that significant enough to provide intervention.Once again, S.P makes a better me than me! If you were a woman I'd ask you out! :lol:

seer
11-14-2014, 10:20 AM
Yes, I suppose my schema can't fit an Arminian universe like I thought it might have.

OK

seer
11-14-2014, 10:21 AM
If you were a woman I'd ask you out! :lol:

Don't let that stop you - you are so old fashion!

seer
11-14-2014, 10:36 AM
This is fine in general principle, but did those tens/hundreds of thousands of people in Nanjing really need to be raped, forced to commit incest and necrophilia, genitally mutilated, and killed for the value of free will to be fully expressed, or for them to see their need for their own redemption/moral growth? Were the unspeakable suffering and evil that they experienced the results of them making an imperfect or sinful decision? Were there any redeeming qualities in their suffering and consequent deaths?

I don't know if they needed such suffering for moral growth or redemption, though suffering can facilitate both. But such evil certainly can tell us that there is something really wrong in the universe. Of course like I said - if this is a godless universe then these acts are not objectively evil or wrong - it is just animals doing what animals do.


I don't have a problem with the free will defense prima facie, and I don't expect God to intervene in everything, but when something horrifically, stomach-churningly evil like that happens, I find myself bewildered as to why God evidently didn't find that significant enough to provide intervention.

After my agnostic years, which ran into my late 30s, I no longer had a problem believing that God existed - I did have a problem believing that He was good - at least good in any sense that we understood the word. And to me, that is the real point where trust comes in. That God knows what He is doing by allowing what He does. And that one day we will understand and will be perfectly happy and content.

Teallaura
11-14-2014, 10:52 AM
I'm not convinced that we even have free will, but even if I was that still doesn't rule out undeserved suffering. That's why I brought up Job's friends. A murderer might chose to take a life, but God could still have stopped the act for the sake of the innocent victim in any of a million ways. In any kind of coherent ethical system, a "good" being is one who acts to prevent the suffering of others when possible.

Even if we have free will, I have a hard time buying the notion that an omniscient God is not also "omni-persuasive" and capable of convincing anyone to take the righteous course of action in a given situation. I say the same thing about suffering as a teaching tool. It should be no big thing for God to create in the human mind the knowledge of His goodness, mercy, or whatever other lesson is desired.


So, a good being would not give bicillin shots to a syphilitic? Those things HURT - a LOT. But syphilis kills - so would a good being prevent the small suffering of painful shots and thereby allow death or prevent the larger suffering of death bu allowing painful shots?

Let's assume He is 'omni-persuasive' - shouldn't the first question then be what is the endgame? What, ultimately, is the most important thing to God for God to persuade us of? If we don't have that in sight (and I do not subscribe to the 'it's unknowable' theory) then the task of making sense of what God is or is not doing is impossible.

I'm a Wesleyan (Methodist by denom) so you know my answer already.

Jedidiah
11-14-2014, 11:19 AM
To my way of thinking the real question involved in the problem of evil is "why is there so much evil in a purely natural world?"

seer
11-14-2014, 11:23 AM
To my way of thinking the real question involved in the problem of evil is "why is there so much evil in a purely natural world?"

There is no evil in a purely natural world. We are just animals doing what animals do.

Mountain Man
11-14-2014, 11:29 AM
Define "constrain." Compatibilistic accounts of free will hold that God can change our desires and yet leave us free to do whatever we happen to desire.

That's my point. Gideon is praised for letting God do the fighting for him and yet you don't disparage his character. Why not say God should have not even told him to do the whole lamps and swords routine because the experience of a route would have built more character? In my ideal world, everybody is Gideon all the time.

Perhaps you're right but even if I accepted that, there's still far too much suffering in this world to make the idea that a loving God is behind it make sense. Why not have just a handful of cases of actual suffering to use as object lessons? Certainly this world could have done without something as enormous as the Holocaust, to name just one.
I'm really not sure how else to explain my position to you, and at this point, I honestly can't tell if it's my explanations or your ability to comprehend that is lacking.

Mountain Man
11-14-2014, 11:50 AM
This is fine in general principle, but did those tens/hundreds of thousands of people in Nanjing really need to be raped, forced to commit incest and necrophilia, genitally mutilated, and killed for the value of free will to be fully expressed, or for them to see their need for their own redemption/moral growth? Were the unspeakable suffering and evil that they experienced the results of them making an imperfect or sinful decision? Were there any redeeming qualities in their suffering and consequent deaths?

I don't have a problem with the free will defense prima facie, and I don't expect God to intervene in everything, but when something horrifically, stomach-churningly evil like that happens, I find myself bewildered as to why God evidently didn't find that significant enough to provide intervention.
Suppose there was a certain level of suffering in the world that would compel God to intervene. So now we live in a world where Nanjing and the Holocaust could never happen. Fair enough.

But what about the evil on the next rung down the ladder? Suddenly that becomes the worst evil in the world, and we cry to God, "How could you let this evil happen! Don't you love us?" So he eliminates that evil. And so we cry about the next lesser evil. And the next. And the next. And so on until the evilest thing in the world is someone stubbing their toe on uneven pavement.

And then people would cry to God, "How could you let this evil happen! Don't you love us?"

So ultimately what you're asking for is a perfect world. But guess what? God has already told us how to have a perfect world: If every man, woman, and child on earth obeyed the Word of God to the letter, we would have a perfect world. Unfortunately, we reject that perfect world every time we choose to sin.

Is that God's fault, or ours?

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 01:00 PM
There is no evil in a purely natural world. We are just animals doing what animals do.
I disagree. Tell me how Utilitarianism requires a God. Tell me how Kantianism requires a God. Tell me how Virtue Ethics require a God. Tell me how Objectivism requires a God. Tell me how the feminist Ethics of Care require a God.

You might not agree with secular ethical theories, but you don't just get to make that breezy of a dismissal of them.

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 01:07 PM
So, a good being would not give bicillin shots to a syphilitic? Those things HURT - a LOT. But syphilis kills - so would a good being prevent the small suffering of painful shots and thereby allow death or prevent the larger suffering of death bu allowing painful shots? Note the words "where possible." Of course a good being working in limited circumstances would take the least painful route. A good being who was also omnipotent would eliminate the virus outright.


Let's assume He is 'omni-persuasive' - shouldn't the first question then be what is the endgame? What, ultimately, is the most important thing to God for God to persuade us of? If we don't have that in sight (and I do not subscribe to the 'it's unknowable' theory) then the task of making sense of what God is or is not doing is impossible.

I'm a Wesleyan (Methodist by denom) so you know my answer already.Actually, I don't think I ever knew the specifically Wesleyan answer. I know the Calvinist answer is "for God's maximum glory" and my response was always, "God's maximum glory should not require that some go to Hell." I've currently just expanded that to, "God's glory should not require that some suffer."

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 01:09 PM
I don't know if they needed such suffering for moral growth or redemption, though suffering can facilitate both.Forgive me, but that's just sick.

seer
11-14-2014, 01:11 PM
I disagree. Tell me how Utilitarianism requires a God. Tell me how Kantianism requires a God. Tell me how Virtue Ethics require a God. Tell me how Objectivism requires a God. Tell me how the feminist Ethics of Care require a God.

Actually "Kantianism" does require a God. It fails completely without it. Look up Kant's moral argument for the existence of God.


You might not agree with secular ethical theories, but you don't just get to make that breezy of a dismissal of them.

No they are meaningless. There is no objective moral standard in secular theory. Just subjective opinion - where no moral opinion is more valid or correct than its opposite. Again, we are just animals doing what animals do...

seer
11-14-2014, 01:12 PM
Forgive me, but that's just sick.

And your opinion is based on what?

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 01:22 PM
Suppose there was a certain level of suffering in the world that would compel God to intervene. So now we live in a world where Nanjing and the Holocaust could never happen. Fair enough.Yes, it is fair enough.


But what about the evil on the next rung down the ladder? Suddenly that becomes the worst evil in the world, and we cry to God, "How could you let this evil happen! Don't you love us?" So he eliminates that evil. And so we cry about the next lesser evil. And the next. And the next. And so on until the evilest thing in the world is someone stubbing their toe on uneven pavement.Yes, I suppose we should all thank God that we aren't suffering an alien invasion or the wrath of Cthulhu or all living in Gotham City. That doesn't change the fact that the Holocaust, Nanjing, etc. are devastatingly, mindnumbingly evil in a way stubbing one's toe could never be whether we knew it or not.

Like I said, you've talked me down from demanding a suffering-less world, but that doesn't mean I'm willing to concede that the world as we have it doesn't indicate an evil or impotent God.



So ultimately what you're asking for is a perfect world. But guess what? God has already told us how to have a perfect world: If every man, woman, and child on earth obeyed the Word of God to the letter, we would have a perfect world. Unfortunately, we reject that perfect world every time we choose to sin.

Is that God's fault, or ours?"Oh Lord, was it our sin or our child's sin that this glioblastoma has come upon us?" That's not even YEC, it's insanity.

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 01:26 PM
Actually "Kantianism" does require a God. It fails completely without it. Look up Kant's moral argument for the existence of God.
I was thinking more of the Categorical Imperative that just relies on definitions. It's been awhile, sorry.



No they are meaningless. There is no objective moral standard in secular theory. Just subjective opinion - where no moral opinion is more valid or correct than its opposite. Again, we are just animals doing what animals do...Sorry, but that's just ignorant. You don't need to believe in God to recognize something like the pleasure principle. Not all non-theists are relativists, you just disagree with their reasoning.

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 01:30 PM
And your opinion is based on what?Obviousness. Nobody "needs" to be raped. If you think that, then you're a monster and so is your God.

Mountain Man
11-14-2014, 01:35 PM
Yes, it is fair enough.
Yes, I suppose we should all thank God that we aren't suffering an alien invasion or the wrath of Cthulhu or all living in Gotham City. That doesn't change the fact that the Holocaust, Nanjing, etc. are devastatingly, mindnumbingly evil in a way stubbing one's toe could never be whether we knew it or not.

Like I said, you've talked me down from demanding a suffering-less world, but that doesn't mean I'm willing to concede that the world as we have it doesn't indicate an evil or impotent God.

"Oh Lord, was it our sin or our child's sin that this glioblastoma has come upon us?" That's not even YEC, it's insanity.
So you concede that some suffering is consistent with a holy and just God. But where do you want to draw the line?

No clever argument, however, and no supposed spiritual experience can hide one unavoidable fact: a holy God would yearn to wipe out every cause of pain. And if he eradicated everyone who has ever caused pain by selfishness, cheating, lying, gossiping or hurtful remarks, who would be left?

‘Suffering is God’s fault!’ we sneer, conveniently forgetting times our anger, greed and lies hurt others. Naturally, there is a degree of hurt we deem excusable, and for some suspicious reason the hurt we have inflicted happens to fall within the standard we arbitrarily set. It is like failing an exam and then moving the pass mark to make our score look good. A holy God could not be partner to such hypocrisy. To wipe out some people who cause suffering and spare you and me would make God guilty of gross injustice. We have each added to humanity’s shame. If there is a God of love, the people he loves and longs to place in a pain-free world are the very ones who cause humanity’s suffering.

http://www.net-burst.net/hot/evil.htm#suf

fm93
11-14-2014, 01:55 PM
Suppose there was a certain level of suffering in the world that would compel God to intervene. So now we live in a world where Nanjing and the Holocaust could never happen. Fair enough.

But what about the evil on the next rung down the ladder? Suddenly that becomes the worst evil in the world, and we cry to God, "How could you let this evil happen! Don't you love us?" So he eliminates that evil. And so we cry about the next lesser evil. And the next. And the next. And so on until the evilest thing in the world is someone stubbing their toe on uneven pavement.
I don't think I can buy this answer. For one thing, stubbing one's toe on the pavement doesn't involve an evil act anywhere, as pavement is non-living and has no moral agency. Regarding the point about descending "levels" of genuine evil, my question isn't about why anything unpleasant ever happens at all, but rather, why seemingly nothing is done to spare people from the path of evil. Could God not allow evil to happen, so as to allow genuine freedom to exist, but also intervene to ensure that innocent bystanders aren't caught in its destruction? I'm not asking why God doesn't intervene every time people clumsily trip on something and fall, or make irresponsible decisions. The victims in Nanjing were simply minding their own business in their home that had been safe for years until the Japanese army invaded them and committed all sorts of atrocities.


So ultimately what you're asking for is a perfect world. But guess what? God has already told us how to have a perfect world: If every man, woman, and child on earth obeyed the Word of God to the letter, we would have a perfect world. Unfortunately, we reject that perfect world every time we choose to sin.
I don't think I'm asking for a perfect world, just a better one. I understand that the argument from sliding scales could be applied to that too, but is there really a slippery slope to simply ask that some intervention be taken in regard to things like brutal genocide and rape? Besides, the victims weren't choosing to sin by simply living in a particular city. For all you know, they might have been God-fearing people who did obey God to the letter.

Teallaura
11-14-2014, 02:39 PM
Note the words "where possible." Of course a good being working in limited circumstances would take the least painful route. A good being who was also omnipotent would eliminate the virus outright.Ah, but you are now presuming facts not in evidence - that the bacteria (syphilis is bacterial) serve no purpose (I just don't have the heart for the 'right to live argument - I'm good with offing the little buggers with antibiotics all day long!). Which is also presuming that suffering serves no purpose - I don't think either case can be made.



Actually, I don't think I ever knew the specifically Wesleyan answer. I know the Calvinist answer is "for God's maximum glory" and my response was always, "God's maximum glory should not require that some go to Hell." I've currently just expanded that to, "God's glory should not require that some suffer."
Wesley held that true religion is for the purpose of restoring God's image in us. In other words, salvation isn't merely not going to hell but a restoration of the divine image in man - making us really like Christ and not just wannabes. Hence 'working out our salvation' - salvation is an ongoing process that begins in prevenient grace (being led to Christ), kick starts in justifying grace (coming to accept Christ) and continues in sanctifying grace onto Christian perfection (Wesley believed it was possible). Incidentally, perfection here has to do with wholeness not flawlessness.

God's glory, which is His sovereign right, is utilized for His purposes - usually for us. When God glorifies Himself or we glorify Him, the effect is both to bring us closer and to demonstrate Him to those who don't yet know Him. Now, that is NOT the only purpose nor does God have any obligation to use His glory thusly - but through grace, He does. Human and natural ills / evils God can and does use for good. His 'big picture' is far bigger than ours and so not always apparent at the time and sometimes never apparent to us but from what we can see we can trust that the parts we don't get are still under His control and being used ultimately for good.

Is it better to let there be no suffering in a fallen world and thereby let everyone proceed to eternal separation from God (hell)?

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 02:57 PM
So you concede that some suffering is consistent with a holy and just God. But where do you want to draw the line?
Massmurder and atrocity is a good starting point. I don't think I'm obligated to know exactly where to draw that line any more than I'm obligated to know exactly what formulation of international law (and in perfect detail) would prevent another Rape of Nanjing while at the same time perfectly preserving every nation's sovereignty. It's above my pay grade. Simple moral intuition is not.

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 03:06 PM
Ah, but you are now presuming facts not in evidence - that the bacteria (syphilis is bacterial) serve no purpose (I just don't have the heart for the 'right to live argument - I'm good with offing the little buggers with antibiotics all day long!). Which is also presuming that suffering serves no purpose - I don't think either case can be made.Fair enough. I'll admit that venereal disease can be a life lesson (for example regarding promiscuity) but God could still prevent or heal undeserved cases.



Wesley held that true religion is for the purpose of restoring God's image in us. In other words, salvation isn't merely not going to hell but a restoration of the divine image in man - making us really like Christ and not just wannabes. Hence 'working out our salvation' - salvation is an ongoing process that begins in prevenient grace (being led to Christ), kick starts in justifying grace (coming to accept Christ) and continues in sanctifying grace onto Christian perfection (Wesley believed it was possible). Incidentally, perfection here has to do with wholeness not flawlessness.

God's glory, which is His sovereign right, is utilized for His purposes - usually for us. When God glorifies Himself or we glorify Him, the effect is both to bring us closer and to demonstrate Him to those who don't yet know Him. Now, that is NOT the only purpose nor does God have any obligation to use His glory thusly - but through grace, He does. Human and natural ills / evils God can and does use for good. His 'big picture' is far bigger than ours and so not always apparent at the time and sometimes never apparent to us but from what we can see we can trust that the parts we don't get are still under His control and being used ultimately for good.

Is it better to let there be no suffering in a fallen world and thereby let everyone proceed to eternal separation from God (hell)?Sorry, I was a universalist before I apostatized. Any Hell that there might be will be of our own making because we refuse to repent. I don't believe that human free will is capable of resisting His persuading grace forever (though someone like Hitler is going to be down there for a very, very long time).

seer
11-14-2014, 04:42 PM
Obviousness. Nobody "needs" to be raped. If you think that, then you're a monster and so is your God.

I never said anyone "needs" to be raped idiot.

seer
11-14-2014, 04:49 PM
Sorry, but that's just ignorant. You don't need to believe in God to recognize something like the pleasure principle. Not all non-theists are relativists, you just disagree with their reasoning.

I'm not sure what the pleasure principle has to do with a lion killing and eating a gazelle. Or the Nazis gassing Jews-its all quite natural. And yes, relativism is the only logical option in a godless universe, if you think otherwise please explain.

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 06:08 PM
I'm not sure what the pleasure principle has to do with a lion killing and eating a gazelle. Or the Nazis gassing Jews-its all quite natural. And yes, relativism is the only logical option in a godless universe, if you think otherwise please explain.First of all, not all forms of relativism are "do whatever you wish." Cultural relativism, for example, certainly isn't.

Two examples of consequentialist ethics:

Jeremy Bentham's pleasure principle, which is the foundation of utilitarian ethics, states that an act is morally right to the extent that it promotes the greatest pleasure for the greatest number of relevant stake holders to a situation. "Pleasure" is not just defined as momentary sensual gratification, but as that which promotes human flourishing in the long term. In other words, this is not inconsistent with delayed gratification or even temporary suffering towards the end of human flourishing. Human flourishing is defined as a life as rich (as possible within the framework of not harming others) in what are self-evidently the best things for a human being, ie. piece of mind, love for one's neighbor, reasonableness, and attainment of one's acceptable goals. Thus as John Stuart Mill put it, "Better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a pig satisfied."

Virtue ethics is similar, though the focus is on what makes for a healthy self. The Nazi's were mentally brutalizing themselves by perpetuating a toxic cycle of hate and violence, the logical end of which is the destruction of all humanity, even before they sent anyone to the gas chambers.

The advantage we have over animals is that we can see ways to make more people happy than just survival of the fittest.

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 06:13 PM
I never said anyone "needs" to be raped idiot.Good. I must have misread you, then. My apology.

I still hold that it's morally repugnant to think that a good God would allow something like the Rape of Nanjing as an object lesson, though.

Adrift
11-14-2014, 10:54 PM
I never said anyone "needs" to be raped idiot.

Man, enough with that. He's just trying to figure some things out.

Adrift
11-14-2014, 11:20 PM
First of all, not all forms of relativism are "do whatever you wish." Cultural relativism, for example, certainly isn't.

Two examples of consequentialist ethics:

Jeremy Bentham's pleasure principle, which is the foundation of utilitarian ethics, states that an act is morally right to the extent that it promotes the greatest pleasure for the greatest number of relevant stake holders to a situation. "Pleasure" is not just defined as momentary sensual gratification, but as that which promotes human flourishing in the long term. In other words, this is not inconsistent with delayed gratification or even temporary suffering towards the end of human flourishing. Human flourishing is defined as a life as rich (as possible within the framework of not harming others) in what are self-evidently the best things for a human being, ie. piece of mind, love for one's neighbor, reasonableness, and attainment of one's acceptable goals. Thus as John Stuart Mill put it, "Better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a pig satisfied."

I hope you do understand how arbitrary this all sounds. Genghis Khan and Hitler got their people believing that they were promoting the greatest pleasure for the greatest number of relevant stake holders, and thoroughly believed they were promoting human flourishing. The whole "(as possible within the framework of not harming others)" is a silly add-on. Are we to believe there were no morally right acts until the modern period within some 1st world nations?


Virtue ethics is similar, though the focus is on what makes for a healthy self. The Nazi's were mentally brutalizing themselves by perpetuating a toxic cycle of hate and violence, the logical end of which is the destruction of all humanity, even before they sent anyone to the gas chambers.

Why should anyone believe that? The Nazis fought till they were rubble, and even then they received national support. Without any objective moral basis, it seems to me time and circumstance plays the biggest role.


The advantage we have over animals is that we can see ways to make more people happy than just survival of the fittest.

Why is that necessarily an advantage? In many nations even up to the common period ruling with an iron fist so that the populist constantly feared you resulted in high survival rates. In a world where we're nothing but advantaged animals, there really isn't any oughts that dictate we should make more people happy.

Kelp(p)
11-15-2014, 12:11 AM
Man, enough with that. He's just trying to figure some things out.It's ok. I was needlessly harsh.

Kelp(p)
11-15-2014, 12:47 AM
I hope you do understand how arbitrary this all sounds. Genghis Khan and Hitler got their people believing that they were promoting the greatest pleasure for the greatest number of relevant stake holders, and thoroughly believed they were promoting human flourishing. The whole "(as possible within the framework of not harming others)" is a silly add-on.It's not a silly add-on. Harming others is objectively wrong (and thus Hitler and Genghis were both very much mistaken) because its end result (everybody harming and using everyone else) is the destruction of all life on earth or at least lives for everybody that are nasty, brutish, and short.


Are we to believe there were no morally right acts until the modern period within some 1st world nations?I dunno, are we to believe there were no morally right acts until Moses brought down the stone tablets? Under utilitarianism, the pleasure principle has always been logically true and many people did it or believed parts of it (doing good to others) already. Bentham, Mill, et al. just articulated it the clearest. It's an attempt to find a science of ethics, not to start a religion.


Why should anyone believe that? The Nazis fought till they were rubble, and even then they received national support. Without any objective moral basis, it seems to me time and circumstance plays the biggest role.Irrationality can be a powerful thing. By denying their own reason, they were essentially reducing themselves to animals. What theistic answer do you have other than the threat of Hell? Theists still have to answer the Euthyphro Dilemma, for one thing.



Why is that necessarily an advantage? In many nations even up to the common period ruling with an iron fist so that the populist constantly feared you resulted in high survival rates. In a world where we're nothing but advantaged animals, there really isn't any oughts that dictate we should make more people happy.Hi survival rates are not everything. You still have a country full of people who are either brainwashed or in mental turmoil due to fear of the state, etc.

But anyway, I'm neither a utilitarian nor a virtue ethicist and I agree both systems have problems. I was just arguing against Seer's sweeping dismissal of centuries of serious philosophical work. But anyway in a system wherein something like the Rape of Nanjing or the Holocaust can be permitted on the grounds that, "It serves some specific purpose that we can only speculate on and God refuses to fully disclose," I'm not sure theism really has all that much morality to it. I'm trying to smother my intuitions here, but I can only do so much.

seer
11-15-2014, 03:22 AM
First of all, not all forms of relativism are "do whatever you wish." Cultural relativism, for example, certainly isn't.

Two examples of consequentialist ethics:

Jeremy Bentham's pleasure principle, which is the foundation of utilitarian ethics, states that an act is morally right to the extent that it promotes the greatest pleasure for the greatest number of relevant stake holders to a situation. "Pleasure" is not just defined as momentary sensual gratification, but as that which promotes human flourishing in the long term. In other words, this is not inconsistent with delayed gratification or even temporary suffering towards the end of human flourishing. Human flourishing is defined as a life as rich (as possible within the framework of not harming others) in what are self-evidently the best things for a human being, ie. piece of mind, love for one's neighbor, reasonableness, and attainment of one's acceptable goals. Thus as John Stuart Mill put it, "Better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a pig satisfied."

Virtue ethics is similar, though the focus is on what makes for a healthy self. The Nazi's were mentally brutalizing themselves by perpetuating a toxic cycle of hate and violence, the logical end of which is the destruction of all humanity, even before they sent anyone to the gas chambers.

The advantage we have over animals is that we can see ways to make more people happy than just survival of the fittest.

So some one or group comes along - like radical Muslims or Communists that don't have the same moral goal (i.e. general human flourishing or happiness) - why are they objectively less correct? The fact is for most of human history, most men lived under totalitarian rule and we survived just fine. And in the big picture so what if we as a species survive? We are a meaningless people, on a meaningless planet, in a meaningless universe. How much less meaningful are our personal moral choices?

Adrift
11-15-2014, 09:13 AM
It's not a silly add-on. Harming others is objectively wrong (and thus Hitler and Genghis were both very much mistaken) because its end result (everybody harming and using everyone else) is the destruction of all life on earth or at least lives for everybody that are nasty, brutish, and short.

Utilitarian ethics can't tell you what's objectively wrong. It can only tell you what seems to work right now, and the greatest pleasure for the greatest number of people has caused the suffering of millions of people not in the majority.


Irrationality can be a powerful thing. By denying their own reason, they were essentially reducing themselves to animals.

Why should anyone assume they were denying their own reason? From their perspective their reason was sound. Without an objective arbiter who's to say who's being morally reasonable?


What theistic answer do you have other than the threat of Hell? Theists still have to answer the Euthyphro Dilemma, for one thing.

I don't really understand what you're saying here. The answer to what? The answer to making people be moral? We live in a fallen world, and are ruled by a sin nature. The only way people will truly change is if they become new creations in Christ. No one can force that on them though. (Obviously, that isn't to say that people can't act morally without knowing Christ.)

Euthyphro's Dilemma has been solved for quite some time. That answer to the dilemma is that the good is neither external to God, nor is it arbitrarily whatever he commands. Rather, God is good because his nature is The Good.


But anyway, I'm neither a utilitarian nor a virtue ethicist and I agree both systems have problems. I was just arguing against Seer's sweeping dismissal of centuries of serious philosophical work. But anyway in a system wherein something like the Rape of Nanjing or the Holocaust can be permitted on the grounds that, "It serves some specific purpose that we can only speculate on and God refuses to fully disclose," I'm not sure theism really has all that much morality to it. I'm trying to smother my intuitions here, but I can only do so much.

I think the, "It serves some specific purpose that we can only speculate on" is only part of the equation. The other part is that there is an adversary, a god of this world, that seeks to devour us, but we've already discussed that.

Teallaura
11-15-2014, 10:12 AM
I only have time to tackle part of this but I'll come back to it.



Fair enough. I'll admit that venereal disease can be a life lesson (for example regarding promiscuity) but God could still prevent or heal undeserved cases.And in so doing makes sure that neither syphilis or yaws are ever treatable let alone curable. If medical researchers had to factor in numerous miraculous cures (and it would have been legion in the early days of research when dead end cases were common and doctors were frequently infected by medical contact with their patients) how would they have ever realized that mercury could treat it or that penicillin could cure it? Both the 'good' and 'bad' victims would have suffered in the long term - those who 'deserved' it would be left incurable to wonder if it would kill them and if so, how. That doesn't sound particularly merciful in the 'big picture' sense to me.


Sorry, I was a universalist before I apostatized. Any Hell that there might be will be of our own making because we refuse to repent. I don't believe that human free will is capable of resisting His persuading grace forever (though someone like Hitler is going to be down there for a very, very long time).
No issue on the first point - at least none worth debating.
Unfamiliar with the second - well, partially. I knew universalism held that all are eventually saved but are you saying that hell acts like purgatory?
Scripture is clear that God doesn't pursue us forever - so I'm not clear on your basis for that last statement. :huh:

Gnostic Bishop
11-15-2014, 11:02 AM
Can you help but do evil? I do not see how. Do you?
And if you cannot, why would God punish you?

Christians are always trying to absolve God of moral culpability in the fall by putting forward their free will argument and placing all the blame on mankind.
That usually sounds like ----God gave us free will and it was our free willed choices that caused our fall. Hence God is not blameworthy. Such statements simply avoid God's culpability as the author and creator of human nature.

Free will is only the ability to choose. It is not an explanation why anyone would want to choose "A" or "B" (bad or good action). An explanation for why Eve would even have the nature of "being vulnerable to being easily swayed by a serpent" and "desiring to eat a forbidden fruit" must lie in the nature God gave Eve in the first place. Hence God is culpable for deliberately making humans with a nature-inclined-to-fall, and "free will" means nothing as a response to this problem.

If all do evil/sin by nature then, the evil/sin nature is dominant. If not, we would have at least some who would not do evil/sin. Can we then help but do evil? I do not see how. Do you?

Having said the above for the God that I do not believe in, I am a Gnostic Christian naturalist, let me tell you that evil and sin is all human generated and in this sense, I agree with Christians, but for completely different reasons. Evil is mankind’s responsibility and not some imaginary God’s. Free will is something that can only be taken. Free will cannot be given not even by a God unless it has been forcibly withheld.

Much has been written to explain evil and sin but I see as a natural part of evolution.

Consider.
First, let us eliminate what some see as evil. Natural disasters. These are unthinking occurrences and are neither good nor evil. There is no intent to do evil even as victims are created. Without intent to do evil, no act should be called evil.
In secular courts, this is called mens rea. Latin for an evil mind or intent and without it, the court will not find someone guilty even if they know that they are the perpetrator of the act.

Evil then is only human to human when they know they are doing evil and intend harm.
As evolving creatures, all we ever do, and ever can do, is compete or cooperate.
Cooperation we would see as good as there are no victims created. Competition would be seen as evil as it creates a victim. We all are either cooperating, doing good, or competing, doing evil, at all times.

Without us doing some of both, we would likely go extinct.

This, to me, explains why there is evil in the world quite well.

Be you a believer in nature, evolution or God, you should see that what Christians see as something to blame, evil, we should see that what we have, competition, deserves a huge thanks for being available to us. Wherever it came from, God or nature, without evolution we would go extinct. We must do good and evil.

There is no conflict between nature and God on this issue. This is how things are and should be. We all must do what some will think is evil as we compete and create losers to this competition.

This link speak to theistic evolution.

http://www.youtube.com/user/ProfMTH#g/c/6F8036F680C1DBEB

If theistic evolution is true, then the myth of Eden should be read as a myth and there is not really any original sin.

Doing evil then is actually forced on us by evolution and the need to survive. Our default position is to cooperate or to do good. I offer this clip as proof of this. You will note that we default to good as it is better for survival.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBW5vdhr_PA

Can you help but do evil? I do not see how. Do you?
And if you cannot, why would God punish you?

Regards
DL

fm93
11-15-2014, 11:34 AM
He calls himself Gnostic Bishop, but when it comes to the Internet he's just a rook.

/shows self the door

Kelp(p)
11-15-2014, 01:48 PM
I only have time to tackle part of this but I'll come back to it.


And in so doing makes sure that neither syphilis or yaws are ever treatable let alone curable. If medical researchers had to factor in numerous miraculous cures (and it would have been legion in the early days of research when dead end cases were common and doctors were frequently infected by medical contact with their patients) how would they have ever realized that mercury could treat it or that penicillin could cure it? Both the 'good' and 'bad' victims would have suffered in the long term - those who 'deserved' it would be left incurable to wonder if it would kill them and if so, how. That doesn't sound particularly merciful in the 'big picture' sense to me.I guess you're right.


No issue on the first point - at least none worth debating.
Unfamiliar with the second - well, partially. I knew universalism held that all are eventually saved but are you saying that hell acts like purgatory?
Scripture is clear that God doesn't pursue us forever - so I'm not clear on your basis for that last statement. :huh:No, because purgatory is something God does to us. This is something we do to ourselves. The torment is all of our own making because we refuse to repent. It starts in this life and continues after death.

Yeah, see, this is where my errantism kicks in. If Scripture really does indicate that God will not pursue us forever, then I simply can't accept that. I can accept everything about suffering and still call God good, as difficult as it is for me to do so, but I simply can't except a God who gives up on us. To my mind that has two possible implications- a God whose willpower, patience, or compassion are finite, or people whose stubbornness and sin is more powerful that God. This is one of the reasons I think that the ability to persuade ought to be such an important part of God's omnipotence.

But this may best be suited for a different thread :shrug:

Kelp(p)
11-15-2014, 02:07 PM
Utilitarian ethics can't tell you what's objectively wrong. It can only tell you what seems to work right now, and the greatest pleasure for the greatest number of people has caused the suffering of millions of people not in the majority.



Why should anyone assume they were denying their own reason? From their perspective their reason was sound. Without an objective arbiter who's to say who's being morally reasonable?



I don't really understand what you're saying here. The answer to what? The answer to making people be moral? We live in a fallen world, and are ruled by a sin nature. The only way people will truly change is if they become new creations in Christ. No one can force that on them though. (Obviously, that isn't to say that people can't act morally without knowing Christ.)

Euthyphro's Dilemma has been solved for quite some time. That answer to the dilemma is that the good is neither external to God, nor is it arbitrarily whatever he commands. Rather, God is good because his nature is The Good.



I think the, "It serves some specific purpose that we can only speculate on" is only part of the equation. The other part is that there is an adversary, a god of this world, that seeks to devour us, but we've already discussed that.I know that's the common answer to the Euthyphro Dilemma but I don't really find it a satisfactory one. But the reason why gets into my uncomfortableness with a God who is bound by logical constraints and my experience of discussing it with people is that everything just gets kind of murky, heh.

You're right that the devil is a piece of the puzzle that I tend to leave out. I'll admit that I have a kind of default skepticism as to whether he exists, but that's likely secular osmosis as much as anything rational.

:sigh: To be honest, I'm really not sure what to say in this thread, anymore. I guess you guys have beaten my arguments. As I said earlier (or maybe it was just in the shoutbox), my objection to major evils like the Holocaust may just be fundamentally emotional and arational and I guess that's nothing that can be solved here.

So, thanks for your help, I guess. And sorry if I've been a jackass.

Kelp(p)
11-15-2014, 04:04 PM
So, maybe in trying to help Whag, I'll be able to help myself fully believe it. http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?4363-The-Problem-of-Natural-Evil&p=121222&viewfull=1#post121222

Adrift
11-15-2014, 04:33 PM
I know that's the common answer to the Euthyphro Dilemma but I don't really find it a satisfactory one. But the reason why gets into my uncomfortableness with a God who is bound by logical constraints and my experience of discussing it with people is that everything just gets kind of murky, heh.

You're right that the devil is a piece of the puzzle that I tend to leave out. I'll admit that I have a kind of default skepticism as to whether he exists, but that's likely secular osmosis as much as anything rational.

:sigh: To be honest, I'm really not sure what to say in this thread, anymore. I guess you guys have beaten my arguments. As I said earlier (or maybe it was just in the shoutbox), my objection to major evils like the Holocaust may just be fundamentally emotional and arational and I guess that's nothing that can be solved here.

So, thanks for your help, I guess. And sorry if I've been a jackass.

I believe that the Problem of Evil is the number one reason people struggle with their faith, and its not because there aren't any good intellectual answers for it, there are, its just that on top of the intellectual there really is an emotional aspect. Its all fine and dandy to talk about the Free Will Defense in a classroom study, but that's probably not going to be much help to the mother who just lost her child. I think one of the interesting things about Christianity is the realization that God isn't cold or distant, but that he knows our suffering intimately and through the voluntary work and sacrifice of Christ in his incarnation, he suffered in ways that no one can imagine. He did that so that he could take on the sins of the world and make us free. He didn't have to do that, but he did because he loves us. In a world with no God, evil is just an inexplicable reality that humanity is stuck with. But I think religion is interesting because, even if you don't like the answer, it makes sense of that evil, and in Christianity at least, we find that it is not a permanent state of affairs.

Oh, by the way, I don't think you're being a jackass. There's plenty of people here who like being nothing more than that, but you're not one of them. There's obviously a sense of sincerity and real searching in your questions which I think is refreshing in discussion.

Kelp(p)
11-15-2014, 05:30 PM
Thanks, man. Good words :smile:

Doug Shaver
11-16-2014, 03:06 AM
I don't know, I don't see a real problem here. God gave men a high degree of moral freedom - He is letting us have our way and this is what it looks like.
I have never seen a good argument demonstrating why evil must exist in order for us to be morally free.

And even if it were the case that we could not exist as morally free creatures unless evil also existed, I cannot see how our existence in the first place is so important that it justifies the existence of evil. The notion that God, given a choice between a world without suffering and a world with human beings, chose the world with human beings, is simply inconsistent with what most Christians tell me about his moral character.

Doug Shaver
11-16-2014, 03:27 AM
So, I really don't see the Problem of Evil as a logical reason for not believing in God (or at least for not being a sadotheist).
I agree it's not a good argument for atheism. But I think it still works mighty well as an argument for the nonexistence of the God worshipped by evangelical Christians.

whag
11-16-2014, 03:46 AM
I think one of the interesting things about Christianity is the realization that God isn't cold or distant, but that he knows our suffering intimately and through the voluntary work and sacrifice of Christ in his incarnation, he suffered in ways that no one can imagine.

This particular presentation of the gospel doesn't sound right to me, though I know it's orthodox. One would think God would be fully acquainted with suffering before committing to creation. Even more to the point, if true, he didn't suffer in ways that "no one can imagine." Anyone who says that doesn't seem to have reviewed the worse ways people have been tortured and killed before or since (Even William Dembski points this out in "The End of Christianity," which is about theodicy). That's not to minimize it; it's just an admonition to not unnecessarily exagerate it.

Perhaps you meant the psychological suffering he endured as the result of the father focusing his wrath on him, but even that is a stretch. That, too, we can imagine. Human beings have endured immense psychological suffering for longer periods of time--and without the comfort of knowing their life would return to normal soon.

Kelp(p)
11-16-2014, 04:28 PM
I have never seen a good argument demonstrating why evil must exist in order for us to be morally free.I don't believe actual evil has to exist for us to be free. There must, however, be the potential for evil since evil acts are always a logically possible choice.

I'm dubious as to whether it's really found in Scripture, but I think the story of Lucifer is still illustrative here. There was nothing external tempting Lucifer to rebel against God, he lived in a perfect world. Yet he still developed pride and narcissism in his heart and decided that he should rule instead of God. Even if there external, already realized examples of evil behavior do not exist, it can still develop from within.


And even if it were the case that we could not exist as morally free creatures unless evil also existed, I cannot see how our existence in the first place is so important that it justifies the existence of evil. The notion that God, given a choice between a world without suffering and a world with human beings, chose the world with human beings, is simply inconsistent with what most Christians tell me about his moral character.Then I think you've been given a skewed presentation of the character of the Christian God. God is love. It's what He's all about. All of His actions ultimately stem from His love. This, as much as anything, is why the doctrine of the Trinity is so important. The universe is a gift of love from the Father to the Son through the Spirit, and back again.

Though the love between the Three in the Trinity was complete in itself, it could not be contained to them. They wanted more beings who could love them in some approximation of the way the Three loved each other. So they made morally free beings who could chose whether or not to love them back. It's our whole mission and the entirety of the meaning of life. Loving one another, loving the created world, it all points back to the ultimate source of love in the Trinity.

So, under this conception, even suffering is evidence of God's love, as paradoxical as that sounds. First off, there are times in which God uses suffering in order to makes us better people, to boil off our dross and make us more committed to love. Then there is suffering that is caused by others from their free will. Though he could, the fact is that God loved them too much to take away their free will, even if this was the side effect. Then there is natural suffering. Though, this is by far the hardest to reconcile with a God of love, it seems to me that at the very least, this beautiful world that tells us so much about God and moves us to praise Him, would be very different indeed if it wasn't for all the features that also become sources of human suffering (fault lines, to name just one example).

Even Hell becomes a testimony to God's love. The loving presence of God is painful to those who hate Him. An eternity with God would be unimaginable torture to them. So, he distances them from Himself and let's them boil in their own internal suffering ("the gates of Hell are locked from the inside," as CS Lewis put it). God does not torture anybody, we torture ourselves by rejecting Him.

Though I believe that everybody in Hell will eventually leave, even if that isn't true I'm not convinced that an eternal Hell is incompatible with a God of love for this reason. We're valuable to Him. He loves us even as we hate Him, the Cross shows that better than anything. So, He says to those who finally reject Him, "Ok, thy will be done." And let's them go on their way, even if in being cut off from the source of all things good, their existence cannot help but be unimaginably miserable.

In the end, God wants to dry every tear from our eyes. He regrets that suffering is an inevitability but knows that it is a necessary evil, as it were, if we are going to be free beings who can experience the love and joy that the Trinity has had amongst themselves from eternity.

Isn't that better than not creating at all? I think it is.

Kelp(p)
11-16-2014, 04:33 PM
This particular presentation of the gospel doesn't sound right to me, though I know it's orthodox. One would think God would be fully acquainted with suffering before committing to creation. Even more to the point, if true, he didn't suffer in ways that "no one can imagine." Anyone who says that doesn't seem to have reviewed the worse ways people have been tortured and killed before or since (Even William Dembski points this out in "The End of Christianity," which is about theodicy). That's not to minimize it; it's just an admonition to not unnecessarily exagerate it.

Perhaps you meant the psychological suffering he endured as the result of the father focusing his wrath on him, but even that is a stretch. That, too, we can imagine. Human beings have endured immense psychological suffering for longer periods of time--and without the comfort of knowing their life would return to normal soon.Don't forget about feeling all the evil and sorrow that has ever existed and ever been felt by anybody. That's what gives Him so much empathy, ultimately.

Adrift
11-16-2014, 04:34 PM
I don't believe actual evil has to exist for us to be free. There must, however, be the potential for evil since evil acts are always a logically possible choice.

I'm dubious as to whether it's really found in Scripture, but I think the story of Lucifer is still illustrative here. There was nothing external tempting Lucifer to rebel against God, he lived in a perfect world. Yet he still developed pride and narcissism in his heart and decided that he should rule instead of God. Even if there external, already realized examples of evil behavior do not exist, it can still develop from within.
Then I think you've been given a skewed presentation of the character of the Christian God. God is love. It's what He's all about. All of His actions ultimately stem from His love. This, as much as anything, is why the doctrine of the Trinity is so important. The universe is a gift of love from the Father to the Son through the Spirit, and back again.

Though the love between the Three in the Trinity was complete in itself, it could not be contained to them. They wanted more beings who could love them in some approximation of the way the Three loved each other. So they made morally free beings who could chose whether or not to love them back. It's our whole mission and the entirety of the meaning of life. Loving one another, loving the created world, it all points back to the ultimate source of love in the Trinity.

So, under this conception, even suffering is evidence of God's love, as paradoxical as that sounds. First off, there are times in which God uses suffering in order to makes us better people, to boil off our dross and make us more committed to love. Then there is suffering that is caused by others from their free will. Though he could, the fact is that God loved them too much to take away their free will, even if this was the side effect. Then there is natural suffering. Though, this is by far the hardest to reconcile with a God of love, it seems to me that at the very least, this beautiful world that tells us so much about God and moves us to praise Him, would be very different indeed if it wasn't for all the features that also become sources of human suffering (fault lines, to name just one example).

Even Hell becomes a testimony to God's love. The loving presence of God is painful to those who hate Him. An eternity with God would be unimaginable torture to them. So, he distances them from Himself and let's them boil in their own internal suffering ("the gates of Hell are locked from the inside," as CS Lewis put it). God does not torture anybody, we torture ourselves by rejecting Him.

Though I believe that everybody in Hell will eventually leave, even if that isn't true I'm not convinced that an eternal Hell is incompatible with a God of love for this reason. We're valuable to Him. He loves us even as we hate Him, the Cross shows that better than anything. So, He says to those who finally reject Him, "Ok, thy will be done." And let's them go on their way, even if in being cut off from the source of all things good, their existence cannot help but be unimaginably miserable.

In the end, God wants to dry every tear from our eyes. He regrets that suffering is an inevitability but knows that it is a necessary evil, as it were, if we are going to be free beings who can experience the love and joy that the Trinity has had amongst themselves from eternity.

Isn't that better than not creating at all? I think it is.

I don't know if your description of the trinity is completely orthodox, but I like where you're going with this! :smile:

shunyadragon
11-16-2014, 04:39 PM
I don't believe actual evil has to exist for us to be free. There must, however, be the potential for evil since evil acts are always a logically possible choice.

This comes closer to the Baha'i view, humans are capable of evil or simply wrong acts and violate God's Laws.

Adrift
11-16-2014, 04:41 PM
Don't forget about feeling all the evil and sorrow that has ever existed and ever been felt by anybody. That's what gives Him so much empathy, ultimately.

That, and I believe its possible that he's tasted separation from God by taking on the sins of the world in his body, and is the reason he quoted the Psalm saying "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?"

Kelp(p)
11-16-2014, 04:55 PM
I don't believe actual evil has to exist for us to be free. There must, however, be the potential for evil since evil acts are always a logically possible choice.

This comes closer to the Baha'i view, humans are capable of evil or simply wrong acts and violate God's Laws.
Ah. Ok.

Kelp(p)
11-16-2014, 04:57 PM
That, and I believe its possible that he's tasted separation from God by taking on the sins of the world in his body, and is the reason he quoted the Psalm saying "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?"I don't object to that idea, but I tend to think the usage of Psalm 22 specifically was as a declaration of triumph as per the ancient Hebrew practice of quoting the first lines of a longer piece to indicate the entire thing (since Psalm 22 ends in triumph).

Adrift
11-16-2014, 05:29 PM
I don't object to that idea, but I tend to think the usage of Psalm 22 specifically was as a declaration of triumph as per the ancient Hebrew practice of quoting the first lines of a longer piece to indicate the entire thing (since Psalm 22 ends in triumph).

Yep, I agree that a declaration of triumph is a perfectly good interpretation of that passage. Scholars like Craig Keener, Vincent Taylor, Craig Evans, and Leon Morris seem to lean towards the idea of alienation though, and in Keener and Evans opinion, the cry on the cross even meets the criterion for embarrassment (at least in Matthew). I think either view is acceptable, and personally think that even a combination of the two are possible.

seer
11-16-2014, 05:32 PM
That, and I believe its possible that he's tasted separation from God by taking on the sins of the world in his body, and is the reason he quoted the Psalm saying "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?"

Chesterton asked, did Christ so identify with man that for a moment God became agnostic about God...

Kelp(p)
11-16-2014, 05:34 PM
Yep, I agree that a declaration of triumph is a perfectly good interpretation of that passage. Scholars like Craig Keener, Vincent Taylor, Craig Evans, and Leon Morris seem to lean towards the idea of alienation though, and in Keener and Evans opinion, the cry on the cross even meets the criterion for embarrassment (at least in Matthew). I think either view is acceptable, and personally think that even a combination of the two are possible.Ah. Ok. Interesting.

Adrift
11-16-2014, 05:54 PM
Chesterton asked, did Christ so identify with man that for a moment God became agnostic about God...

Morris would reply, "But it is impossible to ascribe to Jesus our weakness. In point of fact this very saying shows that His faith was strong. He still addresses God as 'my' God. We must not impute to Him the spiritual blindness that is a matter of this kind.", however he concludes,

The cry of dereliction must not be watered down. It is a shocking statement and we must beware of trying to render it innocuous. The death that Jesus died was full of horror, and no understanding of the atonement can be satisfactory which does not reckon with that. It is the terrible nature of the death that He died that is significant, and not merely the fact that He did die. M. Goguel reminds us that


it is not without significance that the earliest account of the Passion has not attempted (as it would have been easy to do) to emphasize the physical torture which Jesus endured, while it has retained so accurate and precise a recollection of his spiritual agony; for the sense of being abandoned by God must have caused unfathomable pain to him whose whole life had been supported by the experience of the presence of God.

That this presence was withdrawn is the measure of the horror of Jesus' death. This shows us, as nothing else does, the cost of atonement. Centuries earlier the prophet Habakkuk had prayed 'Thou that art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and that canst not look on perverseness' (Hb. 1:13). It is here, it seems to me, that we must seek our explanation of the saying. So terrible is it to bear the sin of the world that it led to this awful separation. Sin separates from God (Is. 59:2), and so it would seem does sin-bearing. J. K. S. Reid says forthrightly, 'Christ as reprobate bears damnation on His shoulders to defend and shelter those who are in Him from it, however merited.' While perhaps not everyone would choose exactly this way of expressing it, something like this does seem to be demanded by the scriptural language.

Other scholars, (Bauckham for instance) completely disagree. :smile:

Teallaura
11-17-2014, 01:04 PM
I guess you're right.Okay.



No, because purgatory is something God does to us. This is something we do to ourselves. The torment is all of our own making because we refuse to repent. It starts in this life and continues after death.
To what end? Why would there then be a time limit on anyone in Hell? I have no issue with hell as a 'do it yourself torment' but I'm not following the time limit/sentence/whatever that was that you were saying about an eventual end to being in Hell. :huh:


Yeah, see, this is where my errantism kicks in. If Scripture really does indicate that God will not pursue us forever, then I simply can't accept that. I can accept everything about suffering and still call God good, as difficult as it is for me to do so, but I simply can't except a God who gives up on us. To my mind that has two possible implications- a God whose willpower, patience, or compassion are finite, or people whose stubbornness and sin is more powerful that God. This is one of the reasons I think that the ability to persuade ought to be such an important part of God's omnipotence.

But this may best be suited for a different thread :shrug:

Option C: A God Who eventually gives us what we say we want. God isn't a quitter but He isn't a bully, either and there is a dividing line between the two.

Let's go back to the 'omni-persuader' thing of yours. Define this for me. Coming from a Poli Sci background, I find it a bizarre argument but I think the problem is in how you are defining 'persuasion' so I want that clarified if you don't mind.

seer
11-17-2014, 01:12 PM
Morris would reply, "But it is impossible to ascribe to Jesus our weakness. In point of fact this very saying shows that His faith was strong. He still addresses God as 'my' God. We must not impute to Him the spiritual blindness that is a matter of this kind.", however he concludes,

The cry of dereliction must not be watered down. It is a shocking statement and we must beware of trying to render it innocuous. The death that Jesus died was full of horror, and no understanding of the atonement can be satisfactory which does not reckon with that. It is the terrible nature of the death that He died that is significant, and not merely the fact that He did die. M. Goguel reminds us that



That this presence was withdrawn is the measure of the horror of Jesus' death. This shows us, as nothing else does, the cost of atonement. Centuries earlier the prophet Habakkuk had prayed 'Thou that art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and that canst not look on perverseness' (Hb. 1:13). It is here, it seems to me, that we must seek our explanation of the saying. So terrible is it to bear the sin of the world that it led to this awful separation. Sin separates from God (Is. 59:2), and so it would seem does sin-bearing. J. K. S. Reid says forthrightly, 'Christ as reprobate bears damnation on His shoulders to defend and shelter those who are in Him from it, however merited.' While perhaps not everyone would choose exactly this way of expressing it, something like this does seem to be demanded by the scriptural language.



Yes...

Kelp(p)
11-17-2014, 09:30 PM
To what end? Why would there then be a time limit on anyone in Hell? I have no issue with hell as a 'do it yourself torment' but I'm not following the time limit/sentence/whatever that was that you were saying about an eventual end to being in Hell. :huh:


Option C: A God Who eventually gives us what we say we want. God isn't a quitter but He isn't a bully, either and there is a dividing line between the two.

Let's go back to the 'omni-persuader' thing of yours. Define this for me. Coming from a Poli Sci background, I find it a bizarre argument but I think the problem is in how you are defining 'persuasion' so I want that clarified if you don't mind.There isn't a "time limit" on Hell in the sense of an external finite sentence from God or anything like that. Hell is created by the rejector's own obstinacy and hatred of God. "Getting out" doesn't occur until the believer really comes to repent of their sins and love God.

For me it's a simple extension of what happens in life when God regenerates someone. You and I are both more or less Arminians, so I'll argue from that vein exclusively to keep things the simplest.

We both believe that God woos us at various times in our life, giving us grace to see our rebellion and the option accept Him or reject Him. He keeps on "knocking" until we open the door. Since sin is fundamentally the rejection of God and sin always causes suffering in one way or another, continuing to reject Him is basically to be in our private Hell. Even if we do not always realize this in life, we certainly will after death. So, yes, God does give us what we want, just like He does in life when people reject Him.

Where I depart from the mainstream is simply that I don't see why God should give up after the End. Either He imposes an artificial limit on His own compassion, which makes no sense. Or there are human beings who are capable of outlasting Him. This is where my admittedly clunky term, "omni-persuasiveness" comes in. Chesterton famously described grace as "the hound of Heaven." God is relentless in this life, always coming back to us, always appealing to our wills to accept Him.

I don't, mean that God tries to "negotiate" us into Heaven or anything like that. But any synergist has to admit that there are things about what goes on in Prevenient Grace that we don't really understand, right? God just keeps coming back and knocking at the door to our hearts. Time, after time, after time, however long it takes Him. The only difference between us that I can see, is that I extend the process into eternity. Eventually the hardest heart in the universe, no matter how much they insist on remaining in Hell, will give in to God's grace and come to love Him, repent, and extinguish the fires of Hell forever with their own tears.

Teallaura
11-18-2014, 02:05 PM
Okay, I'll come back to this when I've had some time to think about it.

Thanks. :smile:

Raphael
11-18-2014, 02:35 PM
There isn't a "time limit" on Hell in the sense of an external finite sentence from God or anything like that. Hell is created by the rejector's own obstinacy and hatred of God. "Getting out" doesn't occur until the believer really comes to repent of their sins and love God.

For me it's a simple extension of what happens in life when God regenerates someone. You and I are both more or less Arminians, so I'll argue from that vein exclusively to keep things the simplest.

We both believe that God woos us at various times in our life, giving us grace to see our rebellion and the option accept Him or reject Him. He keeps on "knocking" until we open the door. Since sin is fundamentally the rejection of God and sin always causes suffering in one way or another, continuing to reject Him is basically to be in our private Hell. Even if we do not always realize this in life, we certainly will after death. So, yes, God does give us what we want, just like He does in life when people reject Him.

Where I depart from the mainstream is simply that I don't see why God should give up after the End. Either He imposes an artificial limit on His own compassion, which makes no sense. Or there are human beings who are capable of outlasting Him. This is where my admittedly clunky term, "omni-persuasiveness" comes in. Chesterton famously described grace as "the hound of Heaven." God is relentless in this life, always coming back to us, always appealing to our wills to accept Him.

I don't, mean that God tries to "negotiate" us into Heaven or anything like that. But any synergist has to admit that there are things about what goes on in Prevenient Grace that we don't really understand, right? God just keeps coming back and knocking at the door to our hearts. Time, after time, after time, however long it takes Him. The only difference between us that I can see, is that I extend the process into eternity. Eventually the hardest heart in the universe, no matter how much they insist on remaining in Hell, will give in to God's grace and come to love Him, repent, and extinguish the fires of Hell forever with their own tears.

To clarify then are you agreeing with Rob Bell's approach he outlines in his book Love Wins?

Kelp(p)
11-18-2014, 03:16 PM
To clarify then are you agreeing with Rob Bell's approach he outlines in his book Love Wins?Never read it.

Kelp(p)
11-18-2014, 03:16 PM
Okay, I'll come back to this when I've had some time to think about it.

Thanks. :smile:No prob :smile: