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  1. 1

    Conscious Objector (@_Zero30_)

    1) Omnipotence invalidates any excuse for suffering

    \\Since your concept of God is a being that is benevolent and all-powerful, there is no excuse for any problems or suffering whatsoever. An omnipotent being could have created everything and everyone in literally any way they chose (and could change it at any time). They are not limited by anything, so there is no possible excuse for an omnipotent being to allow suffering.\\

    The argument relies on the assumption that God can actualize any event, even the logically incoherent which itself relies on your own personal, anthropomorphic caricature of ‘God’ as some kind of superhero. This is entirely without rational foundation, and a strawman of classical Theistic belief. In classical Theism the rationally deduced first cause is not capable of actualizing logically incoherent potentialities. To give a simple example, God cannot actualize a ’round-square’ because a ’round-square’ cannot exist. It is a self-refuting concept. As such, when Theists talk about ‘omnipotence’, it should be understood as the ability to actualize any state of affairs that is *logically possible*. This destroys the foundation of your argument since it is not logically coherent to have a morally perfect God who does not grant freedom of the will, and freedom of the will inevitably leads to the potential for, and actualization of evil. Further the unsupported assertion that there is ‘no possible excuse for an omnipotent being to allow suffering’ is easily demonstrated false. If we posit the concept of the mono-theistic God (omnipotent, omniscient, morally perfect etc) it is just a simple logical deduction to find that such a being may have good reasons for allowing suffering that we are not party too since we lack omniscience. Further, it finds much support in the experiences of people in the world, since suffering, while always undesired at the time we experience it, can and does engender positive reactions and can be to our overall benefit as individuals in the long term. It can build character, may lead us to ask big questions, may make us more empathetic and focused on people rather than possessions and so on.

    //Literally everything – even the way every individual’s mind works, including all their feelings and choices – is a completely intentional design with the exact outcome he desired, and the very nature of how anything can be achieved is entirely up to him – the very nature of reality itself would be his choice.//

    Why do you imagine that Theists believe in a deterministic universe? They don’t. Determinism is an incoherent and self-refuting notion and another reason to reject Atheism (which cannot escape it) and adopt a logically coherent worldview.

    //Thus all suffering would be by design and cannot have any justifiable, necessary good ultimate purpose.//

    Non-sequitur. Even if all suffering was //by design// which you have failed to show, it would not necessarily follow that there was no //necessary good ultimate purpose//

    //2) Defining evil as “absence of good”

    Christians often attempt to get around the problem of evil by defining Evil as “an absence of good”, rather than a distinct thing on its own that God created.//

    Strawman. Christians do not //attempt to get around the problem of evil by defining Evil as “an absence of God”// In fact Thomas Aquinas devotes many hundreds of pages to metaphysical proofs that demonstrate that the conclusion is *rationally unavoidable*. Metaphysical proofs do not operate like scientific proofs which are mere probabilistic conclusions, open to interpretation and new evidence. They operate like mathematical proofs. If they are logically sound, they are true, whether we like the conclusion or not. ‘Evil’ being parasitic on ‘good’ is like this. Either ‘evil’ exists as parasitic on ‘good’, or it doesn’t exist at all.

    //However this is a useless argument because if God created places and beings “without good” fully throughout them, then that qualify as an act of creating evil by their own definition. Remember that God is allegedly the creator of everything, not a being that happened upon the scene then did his best to add more “good” into it. The existing situation and nature of everything is entirely his making.//

    Again, it’s just a basic rational deduction that creation of independent beings by a morally perfect creator necessarily entails free will, and that free will enables evil to be chosen as well as good.

    //But more important is the simpler point that “good” and “evil” are subjective terms. The issue is simply whether God created a situation in which beings would suffer, thus the way one defines evil is irrelevent. So the points made in Section 1 remain valid.//

    Again, your ignorance of the meaning of ‘omnipotent’ is not an argument. Only logically coherent potentialities can be actualized, since God always acts in accordance with reason.

    //3) Lacking certain understanding of an evil action is not evidence that the intent was good.
    Even if we assume a god exists, that being’s plans are irrelevant to whether it is most likely benevolent or not.//

    Leaving aside that the idea of God as a ‘being’, is a logically incoherent strawman, why would the ‘being’s’ plans be irrelevant to ‘whether it is most likely benevolent or not’?

    //Would you just assume that a dictator has your best interest in mind no matter how much suffering and cruelty exists under their rule despite them easily being able to stop that cruelty easily?//

    Yawn, your logical fallacy is: https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/begging-the-question On a materialist ‘when-you’re-dead-that’s-it’ view, of course God can appear morally inadequate given the lives some people experience. But merely positing a God inherently denies that a material existence is all that there is, which makes your complaint about the moral repugnance of said God mind-numbingly adolescent. If God exists, you can rest easy about his moral character, precisely because any suffering you experience in this life will be repaid to you a billion times of over for all eternity, should you choose to accept what is offered to you. If God *doesn’t exist* there is no good, no evil, and you are rationally incoherent to get angry with ‘Him’ because 1. ‘He’ doesn’t exist and 2. No amount of new Atheist hand-waving will make Neitzsche and nihilism go away.

    //Would you call them benevolent? Should a slave care about the “master’s” concerns at his/her own expense?//

    If you have a dog that has cancer and requires a life-saving operation, you cannot make the dog understand why it must undergo fear, stress and physical pain because the dog is incapable of understanding that. It’s incapable of understanding why it must feel abandoned at the vets, and be cut open, and, given the chance, it would probably resist at all costs. Nontheless, in the long run (assuming a good prognosis) the suffering is both necessary and desirable, and you are morally justified in allowing it to be inflicted on your dog, in order to save its life. Now given that the difference between the omniscient mind of God and a human mind is much greater than the difference between a dog and a human, there is good reason to suppose that God a) can have morally sufficient reason for allowing suffering of our material bodies *in order to save our eternal souls* and that b) Even if we heard His reasons…..*we still might not understand them*.

    //It makes no sense to just accept actions that cause us suffering unless we DO understand that the actions are necessary for some benefit that we agree to.//

    As the example above shows, it makes sense *if we are rationally justified in believing that God exists*. I refer you back to our earlier discussions and the logical problems of the metaphysical foundation of materialistic Atheism which demonstrate that belief in Atheism is a logically incoherent and therefore self-refuting paradox. When is your refutation coming?

    //The most direct conclusion of the evidence of an evil act, is that the perpetrator was most likely evil. This is increasingly the case if the perpetrator is very powerful. And if the being is omnipotent, then see point 1.//

    Free will!

    //4) The Problem of Evil is quite relevant evidence//

    Haha, ‘quite relevant’? Look the problem of evil is at least a legitimate argument at last, but it’s only every Atheist’s favourite because of its emotional content, and Atheism is a reactionary and emotionally intuited belief. If we are going to deal with things rationally rather than emotionally, we need to strip it of its emotional content by seeking analogies to ‘evil’ in the world that don’t pull at our heart strings.

    Let’s take, oh…the ‘evil’ of pomegranate seeds. God could have designed pomegranates so they aren’t so damn difficult to get the lovely juice out of. He could have designed them so the seeds could just jump right out of the fruit, leaving a hole for us to stick a straw in and drain the pomegranate *if God wanted that* right?. But what if a pomegranate isn’t just designed to provide us with delicious juice in return for no effort? What if the distribution of the seeds maximises the chances of the pomegranate reproducing which is in fact its primary purpose? What if its design also tells us something about its creator, and about the world? (If you want something great, you have to work for it, and endure some suffering along the way?).

    //An Argument from Ignorance is when a person makes a non sequitur based on the fact that we lack of 100% certain knowledge of the particular issue in question regardless of the evidence we have that points to a contrary conclusion as being a more direct and likely explanation.//

    Haha, not really. An argument from ignorance may or may not be correct, so it is not necessarily the case that it is also a non-sequitur. You have however just committed the fallacy fallacy, another notable milestone in your insatiable quest to commit every possible kind of logical fallacy without ever articulating a coherent argument. So kudos! Back in the rational world, talk of ‘100% certainty’ is painfully naive. If that is your standard of evidence, you have just dismissed all of empirical science which is reliant on intuited axioms for its logical foundation, and upon inductive accumulation for its results which mean it is not only grounded in metaphysics, rather than empiricism, but that its conclusions are only probabilistically true rather than mathematically certain. (See ‘the Logic of Scientific Discovery’ by Karl Popper).

    //The Problem of Evil is not an Argument from Ignorance because the Problem of Evil refers to actual evidence which is contrary to benevolence (It is just not evidence against a generic god).//

    Unless you are in fact dead and resurrected having experienced (or not!) life after death it is absurd for you to argue that one side of the argument is ‘argument from ignorance’ while the other isn’t. We are dealing with two sides of the same coin, and neither side *knows* which way the coin has landed since it is in a dark room that we cannot illuminate. That is why the overall worldviews of the competing beliefs must be examined in a logically disciplined manner, and as you’ll recall one of those is based on a rational metaphysical proof, while one is not.

    //5) Justifying belief in a benevolent God by assuming God is good is circular reasoning and an Argument from Ignorance//

    I’m not sure that would even qualify as circular reasoning, though it would certainly be non-sensical. Unfortunately for your fantasy of #irrationalChristianity classical Theism does not ‘assume’ God is good. It doesn’t assume anything in fact. God is ‘good’, because, if He exists, it is logically incoherent for Him *not* to be ‘good’.

    //When a person claims that the Problem of Evil is invalid because we cannot “know” God’s plan or mind, that is an Argument from Ignorance because it follows a couple unnecessary assumptions – that God is acting benevolently but his reasons are beyond our ability to understand – rather than only following the evidence and fewest assumptions. And since the assumption requires assuming that God exists, it is also circular reasoning.//

    Are you trying to emply Ockham’s razor here? (You know he was a fourteenth century friar and Theist right? haha) Again, you need to show why the assumption is unjustified, which you seem unable to do.

    //The most direct explanation is simply that no such god exists because such a position removes that unnecessarily presupposed factor.//

    Haha, awesome, and of course assuming that God *doesn’t exist* is in no way also a ‘pre-supposed factor’?! The key word is ‘unnecessary’. You need to demonstrate that God is postulated by classical Theism ‘unnecessarily’, because classical Theism is an exercise in deducing whether we need to postulate God in order to explain the existence of the universe and our experiences within it. (Spoiler alert: we *do*). I suggest you start by refuting Aquinas famous five ways. Strangely none of the ‘four Horsemen’ seem to want to tackle Aquinas, (though I hear Dan Dennett checks under the bed for the Angelic Doctor every night).

    Ultimately all arguments for/against devolve to the logical foundation of holding such a belief. Which is why I keep pressing you to justify a rational foundation for your Atheism. You have not examined the rational foundation for your worldview, and if you are ever sufficiently intellectually honest with yourself to do so, (and if you are able to develop the discipline to learn and apply logic) you will find that Atheism is irrational. Not probabilistically irrational, but proven so in the manner of a mathematical proof.

    Reply
    1. 1.1

      Aaron

      I think we need to be able to resolve understanding on at least this very clear point otherwise nothing else we discuss on this matter.

      //The argument relies on the assumption that God can actualize any event, even the logically incoherent which itself relies on your own personal, anthropomorphic caricature of ‘God’ as some kind of superhero.//

      The point does not require that a cosmic super-being/god could actualize logically incoherent conditions. I certainly don’t think that you would claim that God couldn’t have made the world operate differently than it does now. He would merely create all beings with nature’s and personalities that neither require nor are disposed towards harmful feelings or violent acts.

      This also relates to the argument about what it means to have free will. Is one’s will actualized via deterministic or random causes? (or a combination) How is either “free” and is there another option?

      And a person who has a personality naturally disposed towards benevolent feelings or nonviolence has not *chosen* their personality and natural dispositions, yet they still are of course considered to have free will (by people who believe in the concept).

      And since this is related to the first point:

      //Why do you imagine that Theists believe in a deterministic universe? They don’t. Determinism is an incoherent and self-refuting notion and another reason to reject Atheism (which cannot escape it) and adopt a logically coherent worldview.//

      Because there is no other option but randomness, as I mentioned. Which of these – or what else – actualizes our will?

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