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Old 03-12-2007, 03:51 PM #1
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The Problem of Evil

http://www.pbnation.com/showthread.php?t=2067081

Stemming from this thread, now I have an excuse to post this:

I wrote this earlier today. It's not properly formatted and was more of a brainstorm.

The logical problem of evil refers to the argument that if there a god exists, by definition, he is perfect, and omnipotent. Since he created the world, and the world is imperfect, or there is evil in everyday life, then god is does not exist (he can’t be impotent or imperfect by definition). The initial counter to this argument is that humans are in control of the evil. However this is refuted by the problem of natural evil, hurricanes, disease, tornadoes, etc. A being that is perfect can not create evil, it’d be like a painter, using only black and white colors, create an image using stray colors. Leibniz has a very good explanation for natural evil in the world which is best summarized by the quote “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. We can actually take that quote itself for an example what it describes – The sentence rearranged so that each word is listed alphabetically, “The greater is it’s of parts sum than the whole.” means nothing. Each word has its own meaning, but until assembled properly, is just jargon. Leibniz uses this and explains that humans can only see their own world. We are incapable of seeing the entire universe, and that the imperfections and evil may work out for the best. An example of this would be a beehive. Bees alternate their jobs through stages of their life, however there is only 1 queen that is capable of reproducing. The rest of the hive isn’t able to reproduce, which is in sense, an imperfection. However, this contributes and helps the rest of the hive grow, and continues it’s species to the next generation. Bees are one of the most populated organisms on Earth. So Leibniz says that an imperfection to us, may be a part of the perfection of the whole. To me, this is a successful argument because it allows evil and God to coexist, as well as God to have control over what we consider evil. There is another argument I read elsewhere that evil doesn’t exist, and what we perceive as evil is just the absence of good.
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Old 03-12-2007, 04:01 PM #2
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I would tend to agree with Leibeniz's argument and a similiar argument presented by Descartes, which says that the cause must be greater than or equal to the reality of its effect. This reality can be applied to all traits as well
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Old 03-12-2007, 04:27 PM #3
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Balderdash. You, or Leibeniz, is suggesting that the universe is possibly a perfect entity that is essentially a combination of imperfect elements? Than why was evil not present with the inception of Earth and Adam and Eve? Why are these imperfections considered sins and a curse upon the Human race if such principles are for the welfare of the universe? Would that not be a blessing upon the universe? If so, why would Adam and Eve be rewarded with such a blessing despite the fact that they defied God?

These theories don't connect. It appears more as another attempt to rectify another flaw concerning deities by utilizing a metaphor. A metaphor conveys a proposition, it does not substantiate or prove it.
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Old 03-12-2007, 06:09 PM #4
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"Balderdash"? Someone's trying to intimidate us with big words >.<

So, to the OP, if there is a God, then his will MUST be to create a perfect, flawless world? So, you have seen the will of God? Because it simply would not make sense that God wished to create flawed humans...
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Old 03-12-2007, 06:15 PM #5
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"Balderdash"? Someone's trying to intimidate us with big words >.<
Good call.
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Old 03-12-2007, 06:20 PM #6
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i agre with fatboy nicely said. God gave us free will which allows us to make choices otherwise the world would be very very set in stone and routine. nothing would be "real" if we had no free choice, NOTHING. so knowing the risks involved with have free will to openly and freely love God he knew that there would be a risk. and since lucifer already was popped outta heaven it was kinda inevitable. with a bit of coercion adam and eve ate from the forbidden fruit and there was sin. God gave us free will in that we would choose to love him so that way the love was real.
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Old 03-12-2007, 06:59 PM #7
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So who's free will is it that Hurricane Katrina hit NOLA?
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Old 03-12-2007, 08:37 PM #8
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what does katrina have to do with this? its a natural disaster that is irrelevant to this discussion
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Old 03-12-2007, 10:48 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxMONSTER View Post
what does katrina have to do with this? its a natural disaster that is irrelevant to this discussion
It's called natural evil. God is omnipotent and benevolent- he controls everything except us (Free Will is a different debate). That means He controls the weather patterns, which means He created Katrina. However, this contradicts His benevolence as Katrina is bad.

God, by definition and Christian theology, can not create something evil - however evil exists. This MAY be concluded that God is not omnipotent (which means evil could eventually win) - or He is not benevolent, which contradicts Christian theology.
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Old 03-12-2007, 11:22 PM #10
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*cracks open Philosophy of Religion notes*

Few bullet points from a course I took a couple of years ago, addressing this very issue:

- Evil is relative to good; neither good nor evil could exist without both existing simultaneously. Evil/good compliment each other, therefore one could not be understood without a sense of the other.

- Utilitarianism. If the outcome is ultimately greater than the process (ensuring the maximum amout of "goodness" attainable), then evil is necessary.

- According to Christian doctrine, God gave humans free will. Following syllogistic reasoning, we can determine that:
1. Free will requires the potential to so anything one chooses.
2. Thus, free will requires the potential to do evil.
3. Thus, removing the potential to do evil would remove free will.

- Finally (and this may be the kicker), God is not bound by the logic of man. If God is indeed omnicient and omnipotent, then his level of understanding infinitely surpasses ours, and trying to understand God using the prinicpals of logic is ultimately futile.
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Old 03-12-2007, 11:38 PM #11
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nicely said stellar mv free will is completely relevant its why there is evil in this world today its one of the causes of evil. and like stellar said God is of higher power and understanding we humans cannot begin to imagine why he chooses to have katrina sweep over new orleans and what not. there are bunches of natural disasters that occur everyday. people die boo hoo its all part of Gods plan
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Old 03-12-2007, 11:42 PM #12
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The argument against that is that God is omnipotent - He can have the good without the bad as He can just will the good without the bad.
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Old 03-12-2007, 11:49 PM #13
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you guys have no idea what your talking about. God created us with free will, he created Adam and Eve with free will, they voluntarily sinned and that is how evil came into the human world. Before that, Lucifer, God's right hand angel and now the Devil, rebelled against God in the first place. That how everything got started. Lucifer rebelled, and tempted Adam and Eve, who in turn, fell for it and sinned. God did not create an imperfect world, He created one with free will.
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Old 03-12-2007, 11:51 PM #14
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Originally Posted by MVPaintballer View Post
It's called natural evil. God is omnipotent and benevolent- he controls everything except us (Free Will is a different debate). That means He controls the weather patterns, which means He created Katrina. However, this contradicts His benevolence as Katrina is bad.

God, by definition and Christian theology, can not create something evil - however evil exists. This MAY be concluded that God is not omnipotent (which means evil could eventually win) - or He is not benevolent, which contradicts Christian theology.
If you would read the damn Bible, you would know that you are wrong.
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Old 03-12-2007, 11:52 PM #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fepjewfro13 View Post
you guys have no idea what your talking about. God created us with free will, he created Adam and Eve with free will, they voluntarily sinned and that is how evil came into the human world. Before that, Lucifer, God's right hand angel and now the Devil, rebelled against God in the first place. That how everything got started. Lucifer rebelled, and tempted Adam and Eve, who in turn, fell for it and sinned. God did not create an imperfect world, He created one with free will.
No, you're missing the point.

-GOD IS OMNIPOTENT.
OMNIPOTENT - ALL POWERFUL = HE CONTROLS EVERYTHING
-GOD IS PERFECTLY BENEVOLENT
BENEVOLENT - ONLY CAPABLE OF GOOD
-EVIL EXISTS
=========
1. GOD IS NOT OMNIPOTENT
2. GOD IS NOT BENEVOLENT
3. GOD DOES NOT EXIST

^ That is the argument.

Pick 1 of the 3 conclusions, any one you pick disagrees with CHRISTIAN theology.
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Old 03-12-2007, 11:53 PM #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MVPaintballer View Post
The argument against that is that God is omnipotent - He can have the good without the bad as He can just will the good without the bad.
Once again, that argument is bound by earthly principles. Humans devised the concepts of "omnipotence" and "omnicience" in order to accurately classify what the existience of God entails, but if God is indeed real, then he isn't confined to the definitions we prescribe to him.

Our attempts to ascertain God's actuality are merely the product of the near limitless potential of human imagination. Human imagination is hindered, however, because we lack the ability to understand divine reasoning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MVPaintballer View Post
1. GOD IS NOT OMNIPOTENT
2. GOD IS NOT BENEVOLENT
3. GOD DOES NOT EXIST

^ That is the argument.
This argument is a perfect example of what I stated above. Consider this argument:

If God is indeed omnipotent, could he create a three sided square?
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Old 03-12-2007, 11:53 PM #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fepjewfro13 View Post
If you would read the damn Bible, you would know that you are wrong.
I have read the Bible.

How can you say that God is not omnipotent and benevolent?
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Old 03-12-2007, 11:56 PM #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StellarKnight View Post
Once again, that argument is bound by earthly principles. Humans devised the concepts of "omnipotence" and "omnicience" in order to accurately classify what the existience of God entails, but if God is indeed real, then he isn't confined to the definitions we prescribe to him.

Our attempts to ascertain God's actuality are merely the product of the near limitless potential of human imagination. Human imagination is hindered, however, because we lack the ability to understand divine reasoning.
Seems like an easy way out of an argument to say that the argument doesn't exist because it doesn't accurately describe God. If God is not omnipotent, then that means that something can over throw Him. If He is not benevolent, then the Bible is wrong. He gave us words - the capability to describe Him.
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Old 03-13-2007, 12:02 AM #19
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No, you're missing the point.

-GOD IS OMNIPOTENT.
OMNIPOTENT - ALL POWERFUL = HE CONTROLS EVERYTHING
-GOD IS PERFECTLY BENEVOLENT
BENEVOLENT - ONLY CAPABLE OF GOOD
-EVIL EXISTS
=========
1. GOD IS NOT OMNIPOTENT
2. GOD IS NOT BENEVOLENT
3. GOD DOES NOT EXIST

^ That is the argument.

Pick 1 of the 3 conclusions, any one you pick disagrees with CHRISTIAN theology.
Just because He CAN control everything doesnt mean he does. and yes he is only capable of doing good. Evil exists because of Lucifer and man, not God.
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Old 03-13-2007, 12:04 AM #20
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But He created Lucifer. He created Hell.
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Old 03-13-2007, 12:08 AM #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MVPaintballer View Post
Seems like an easy way out of an argument to say that the argument doesn't exist because it doesn't accurately describe God. If God is not omnipotent, then that means that something can over throw Him. If He is not benevolent, then the Bible is wrong. He gave us words - the capability to describe Him.
I'm not saying that the argument doesn't exist because it doesn't accurately describe God. I'm saying that a.) God's not bound to how we define him and b.) we may lack the language do define God at all. True, God gave us words and the ability to communicate, but our language and intuition is not that of God's.
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