God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#16

Post by Byblos » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:51 am

smiley wrote:
Byblos wrote: You do realize those are not the same propositions, right?
I am not sure what you mean. They're obviously not the "same". It's an analogy.
Of course you do but if you insist let's go through it anyway, the second one first:
smiley wrote:If there was a giant pink elephant floating in my room, I would be able to see it.
With this proposition it would be rather obvious if there were a giant pink elephant in the room for it to be visible, right? So to deny the giant pink elephant is to deny the obvious or to deny objectivity.
smiley wrote:If there is a God, then (he argues), we would not expect to see as much suffering in the world.
This proposition, on the other hand, is ascribing a position to God that is itself denied in everything we know about God (whether we believe he exists or not). In other words, even if one does not believe in God one can firmly say that if one did believe in God and if one did believe that the bible is the inspired word of this God then based on these writings one can honestly say that God never intended for the world to be perfect, and suffering is consistent with an imperfect world. So you see, your analogy fails miserably.

But I am curious though, why you would make an analogy of denying the obvious as equitable to denying the existence of God because there is suffering in the world. Care to elaborate on that a little for us?
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#17

Post by jlay » Thu Oct 28, 2010 2:34 pm

In other words, even if one does not believe in God one can firmly say that if one did believe in God and if one did believe that the bible is the inspired word of this God then based on these writings one can honestly say that God never intended for the world to be perfect, and suffering is consistent with an imperfect world.
How do figure? Where are you arriving at the position that God didn't intend for the world to be 'perfect?' Suffering was not the 'good' God spoke over His creation.

I agree that there are problems with the analogy. But I see just as much of a problem with your reply.
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#18

Post by smiley » Thu Oct 28, 2010 2:47 pm

In addition to that, it is absolutely irrelevant as to my objection. And had Byblos paid a little more attention to what I was objecting to rather than nit-picking to death just for the sake of disagreeing, I'm sure he would agree.

Let's say that God did not intend the world to be perfect. It still does not change the fact that Danny's initial argument is absurd. The bottom line is that it is no more self-contradictory for an atheist to argue against God's existence by attempting to demonstrate an incoherence of a hypothetical world where God does exist than it is for me to argue against a giant pink elephant based on similar reasoning.

In short, saying "if you believe in God, and there is suffering in the world, how do you make those two propositions consistent" does not require presupposing that God exists, no more than my analogy requires a pink elephant (and the fact that I need to go into so much length to get across such a simple concept is really sad).

So please, it seems clear that you're just grasping at straws for the sake of arguing. What I'm saying here is really pure common sense. Danny had no idea what he was talking about.
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#19

Post by smiley » Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:21 pm

Just to avert any confusion, here's Danny's original post:
DannyM wrote:To call for an end to suffering would be to call for an end to the material world we inhabit. No one objects to a natural world with an intelligable universe subject to its own laws, correct? To call for an end to suffering would be to call for the suspension of natural law and the intervention of God. Is the atheist really calling for such action? After all, a miracle is just the non-presence of natural law, yes? Is the atheist calling for a God he does not believe in to suspend natural law? This would seem to be a blatant contradiction if ever there was one.
Now, he's saying that the original poster was "calling to an end of suffering", but this is only partially correct. He was arguing that (and this does not mean that I agree with him, I'm just citing him) from a Christian theist's perspective, there should not be as much suffering. Danny, thus concludes that he was contradicting himself because he does not believe in God, and the end of suffering can only be brought about through a miracle.

However, this is clearly fallacious, because one needn't presuppose the existence of a thing in order to to conclude that it does not exist by demonstrating that our observations of the world (whether is the the existence of suffering, or our inability to detect any giant pink elephants) do not fit what we would be expecting to see had the thing existed.

In short, before you start yelling how I'm so terribly wrong again because you are annoyed by my attitude, try stopping for a few seconds and think if perhaps you may be in agreeance with me.
"Imagine if we picked the wrong god. Every time we go to church, we're just make him madder and madder." - Homer Simpson

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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#20

Post by Echoside » Thu Oct 28, 2010 5:23 pm

smiley wrote: Let's say that God did not intend the world to be perfect. It still does not change the fact that Danny's initial argument is absurd. The bottom line is that it is no more self-contradictory for an atheist to argue against God's existence by attempting to demonstrate an incoherence of a hypothetical world where God does exist than it is for me to argue against a giant pink elephant based on similar reasoning.

In short, saying "if you believe in God, and there is suffering in the world, how do you make those two propositions consistent" does not require presupposing that God exists, no more than my analogy requires a pink elephant (and the fact that I need to go into so much length to get across such a simple concept is really sad).
This exactly, think about it. When you point out flaws in other religions, let's say ancient greek mythology, you don't need to believe those gods exist to point out errors within the theology. By now we should be able to see the gods on mount olympus, but we don't. We simply say, IF those gods existed, they should live on mount olympus, but we can't detect them so it's assumed they don't exist.

Atheists don't need to believe in morality to argue against someone elses established standard, in a hypothetical scenario where that standard is true.

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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#21

Post by Byblos » Fri Oct 29, 2010 3:16 am

jlay wrote:
In other words, even if one does not believe in God one can firmly say that if one did believe in God and if one did believe that the bible is the inspired word of this God then based on these writings one can honestly say that God never intended for the world to be perfect, and suffering is consistent with an imperfect world.
How do figure? Where are you arriving at the position that God didn't intend for the world to be 'perfect?' Suffering was not the 'good' God spoke over His creation.

I agree that there are problems with the analogy. But I see just as much of a problem with your reply.
Then please point them out. Here's the syllogism:

1) Only a perfect world would not include suffering
2) Our world includes suffering
3) Our world is not perfect
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#22

Post by Byblos » Fri Oct 29, 2010 3:43 am

smiley wrote:Just to avert any confusion, here's Danny's original post:
DannyM wrote:To call for an end to suffering would be to call for an end to the material world we inhabit. No one objects to a natural world with an intelligable universe subject to its own laws, correct? To call for an end to suffering would be to call for the suspension of natural law and the intervention of God. Is the atheist really calling for such action? After all, a miracle is just the non-presence of natural law, yes? Is the atheist calling for a God he does not believe in to suspend natural law? This would seem to be a blatant contradiction if ever there was one.
Now, he's saying that the original poster was "calling to an end of suffering", but this is only partially correct. He was arguing that (and this does not mean that I agree with him, I'm just citing him) from a Christian theist's perspective, there should not be as much suffering. Danny, thus concludes that he was contradicting himself because he does not believe in God, and the end of suffering can only be brought about through a miracle.

However, this is clearly fallacious, because one needn't presuppose the existence of a thing in order to to conclude that it does not exist by demonstrating that our observations of the world (whether is the the existence of suffering, or our inability to detect any giant pink elephants) do not fit what we would be expecting to see had the thing existed.

In short, before you start yelling how I'm so terribly wrong again because you are annoyed by my attitude, try stopping for a few seconds and think if perhaps you may be in agreeance with me.
Who said anything about yelling and an attitude? A little testy aren't we. I understand what you're trying to say, what I'm trying to tell you is that your analogy does nothing to clarify it. My only issue is with the analogy you provided that it somehow equates not seeing a giant pink elephant in a room with not believing in God because there is suffering. That's the conclusion I draw from it. It's possible that I misunderstood your analogy but you haven't said anything to correct that misunderstanding. Our inability to not see a giant pink elephant in the room stems from the fact that they do not exist in the room. Had they existed in the room we would see them. How is that analogous to ending suffering though a miracle?
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#23

Post by DannyM » Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:27 am

Smiley,

You're not keeping up, so let me try this in more simplistic terms.
smiley wrote:...he's merely trying to argue that the theist's worldview is internally incoherent. If there is a God, then (he argues), we would not expect to see as much suffering in the world.
And what do you think of the premiss?

If God exists then there should not be so much suffering in the world.

The statement is baseless, meaningless and completely misleading, for it presupposes that there is more suffering in the world than need be. But how do we know this is correct? Can you show me how you know this to be a correct assumption? The statement is utterly baseless, bringing with it assumptions which cannot be supported.

What don't you understand about my answer to this fallacy?

The contradiction lies in the atheist's appeal to suffering, for an atheist to point to suffering as some argument against God's existence is merely an emotional appeal in a blind, purposeless, unemotional dog-eat-dog world. And here lies the absurdity. Emotional appeal from an atheist simply does not cut it. And, yes, if we are to ask the question why God has, nevertheless, created a world in which suffering exists, it presupposes God as creator; the question presupposes God as creator and can serve as no argument against his existence. But that is a minor point when compared to the ludicrous situation we find ourselves in when an atheist tries to appeal to suffering in an attempt to disprove God's existrence.

But let me ask you some questions.

1. What do you think of the premiss?

2. Do you think God should be under some obligation as creator to have created a world with no suffering and pain?

3. Can you show me how the existence of suffering in the world negates God's existence? How is this "internally incoherent" for the Christian?

4. Have you considered that this might be the best world for God's purposes?

You need to address all my points and in full. You also need to show how suffering and pain is incompatible with God's omnipotent existence.
Last edited by DannyM on Sat Oct 30, 2010 3:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#24

Post by jlay » Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:54 am

2. Do you think God should be under some obligation as creator to have created a world with no suffering and pain?
I think we would all agree that God is only obligated to Himself. And he did create a good/perfect world. The way the world and man are today are not the way God created them.
3. Can you show me how the existence of suffering in the world negates God's existence? How is this "internally incoherent" for the Christian?
I don't think Smiley is claiming that the existence of suffering negates God's existence. Especially considering he believes in the God of the Bible. I am fairly certain that he would disagree with you as to the source and cause of suffering in the world.
4. Have you considered that this might be the best world for God's purposes?
The Bible says the world we are in is fallen and in a state of judgment. That it went from one state (good) to another (broken). And that God will restore it to perfection, according to His good will. And God will work out his purposes and plans in spite of the work of the enemy and the fallen nature of man. So, I would ask, did God create a fallen world?
You need to address all my points and in full. You also need to show how suffering and pain is incompatible with God's omnipotent existence.
Why is obligated to show you something he doesn't believe in? That's little weird don't you think?

If an Atheist wants to deny the existence of God because they see suffering in the world as incompatible with an Omni 3 God then they are most certainly welcome to make that objection. And we are most certainly welcome to point out why it isn't true. Now, it is obvious that Smiley does not agree with many of the explanations posited from Christians on this board to explain such. And vice versa. And I don't agree with many of them either. That doesn't mean we have to be all hostile with each other.
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#25

Post by Katabole » Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:25 am

I haven't posted on this website in a couple of years but after reading through a number of articles I thought I'd comment.

Christian's beliefs are based on faith. God gave us the creation as the 'proof' that He exists. As the follwing line of scripture clearly says:

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (KJV)

As for the problem with evil, evil still exists because it is simply not time for God to do something about that yet. When the time comes, He's going to clean house. As scripture states:

Zephaniah 3:8 Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.

The reason God hasn't returned yet to rid our existence of evil is simple:

2Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

If some reading don't believe that the Bible is the Word of God, Jesus Himself claimed that the scripture remains true forever and that His Word is the truth.

The following link might help those who want to know more about God and why He does what He does:

http://philologos.org/__eb-htetb/
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#26

Post by Echoside » Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:25 pm

DannyM wrote:Smiley,

You're not keeping up, so let me try this in more simplistic terms.
smiley wrote:...he's merely trying to argue that the theist's worldview is internally incoherent. If there is a God, then (he argues), we would not expect to see as much suffering in the world.
And what do you think of the premiss?

If God exists then there should not be so much suffering in the world.

The statement is baseless, measningless and completely misleading, for it presupposes that there is more suffering in the world than need be. But how do we know this is correct? Can you show me how you know this to be a correct assumption? The statement is utterly baseless, bringing with it assumptions which cannot be supported.
I really don't understand your objection, the premise is actually something more along the lines of

if God exists, according to the parameters set forth by GOD in the bible, and being an omni^3 deity, less suffering should be found in the world than what is.


Now, this statement may be incorrect, because it might not necessarily follow that the world is different than it should be if created by God of the bible. HOWEVER, there is no appeal to emotion, I don't see where there is. The atheist says there is more suffering than should be , using CHRISTIAN standards. There may be "atheists" out there that DO appeal to emotion in the sense that they appeal to an objective morality, that there worldview is incompatible with, but I do not see that here. The argument presupposes there is more suffering than need be, using CHRISTIAN standards. If you wish to show that this is not the case, if you show that the properties of God do not exclude suffering, that's fine. But i don't see a reason to dismiss the argument because ""atheists aren't allowed to talk of hypothetical matters of spirituality".

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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#27

Post by DannyM » Sat Oct 30, 2010 1:50 am

J,

At no point have I been under any impression that I have been talking with a Christian. Could we please clear this up before we go on...Are you and I talking about the same person?

Danny
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#28

Post by DannyM » Sat Oct 30, 2010 1:54 am

Echoside,

You not understanding does nothing to my point. Let's put it your way, although I fail to see much difference.

According to the definition of the Christian God there should be less suffering in the world than we find.

Now before I go on, I wish to point out that it is difficult to see what the force of 'should' is here apart from a moral one. The atheist is using this, not the Christian. I'll be back to clear up your post as soon as you've addressed this.

Thanks.

Danny
Last edited by DannyM on Sat Oct 30, 2010 3:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#29

Post by DannyM » Sat Oct 30, 2010 3:01 am

J,

While I wait I'll get to this one, which clearly has nothing to do with Smiley.
jlay wrote:
4. Have you considered that this might be the best world for God's purposes?
The Bible says the world we are in is fallen and in a state of judgment. That it went from one state (good) to another (broken). And that God will restore it to perfection, according to His good will. And God will work out his purposes and plans in spite of the work of the enemy and the fallen nature of man. So, I would ask, did God create a fallen world?


God knew beforehand that the world would go from one state to another, and yet he still created. So yes, God still proceeded to create the world, safe in the knowledge that it was and is the best possible world for his intentions. Unless we are tentatively trying to suggest that God made a monumental error...?
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#30

Post by DannyM » Sat Oct 30, 2010 7:07 am

J,

No, God did not create a fallen world. Just as God did not create evil.

Danny
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