God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#46

Post by musician » Sat Nov 13, 2010 9:08 pm

happycynic wrote:
1) God is Omni^3

2) The world could be better

I should think that #2 is demonstrable because #1 is true, rather than in spite of it.

- Nathan

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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#47

Post by MarcusOfLycia » Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:24 am

I don't see where we are in disagreement here. I have not, and you will not see me make the argument that god is not conforming to his own standards. I think the problem of evil is faulty, and I have no problem with suffering in a world created by god, an omni^3 deity, etc.
I'm glad that someone can see that without being a Christian. I've heard some people rely on that argument exclusively to 'disprove' God. After reading some CS Lewis in particular, I think it actually makes more sense for there to be suffering (that is, this world isn't an amusement park for man, its a breeding ground for godly character).
To me, it sounds like you are saying the atheist isn't even ALLOWED to try and argue against God, because the atheist doesn't think god exists. It's a hypothetical IF question. IF god exists, why does the world have suffering. IF zeus exists, why can't we see him on mount olympus. There's a difference between "why did god do this, and IF god exists why did he do this.
I think its totally reasonable to use "If" questions. However, I find that a lot of the time, when an atheist says "If God exists, then...", the next thing they say is something that doesn't make sense -if- God exists. For instance, this problem of evil. If we assume there is no God and then try to argue it, the problem of evil seems valid (at least it does in the context I've mentioned above to some people). However, -if- God exists, its not so much that you can't argue anymore as an atheist, but you suddenly have to take on a whole lot of positions one might not want to take on as an atheist. For instance, -if- God exists, evil is not even up for question. God would solely define evil, and we would be responsible. -If- God exists, the size of the universe and our supposed insignificance is irrelevant. -If- God exists, objections to what God has done through history are meaningless and stupid.

Basically, when an atheist tries to argue theology based on the pre-supposition that God exists, they have 2000+ years of very strong Christian ideas to wrestle with.

So yeah, it's definitely a good thing if an atheist tries to see things as though there was a God to understand a Christian position. Unfortunately, I've never heard one do that.
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#48

Post by Echoside » Sun Nov 14, 2010 8:05 pm

MarcusOfLycia wrote:
I think its totally reasonable to use "If" questions. However, I find that a lot of the time, when an atheist says "If God exists, then...", the next thing they say is something that doesn't make sense -if- God exists. For instance, this problem of evil. If we assume there is no God and then try to argue it, the problem of evil seems valid (at least it does in the context I've mentioned above to some people). However, -if- God exists, its not so much that you can't argue anymore as an atheist, but you suddenly have to take on a whole lot of positions one might not want to take on as an atheist. For instance, -if- God exists, evil is not even up for question. God would solely define evil, and we would be responsible. -If- God exists, the size of the universe and our supposed insignificance is irrelevant. -If- God exists, objections to what God has done through history are meaningless and stupid.

Basically, when an atheist tries to argue theology based on the pre-supposition that God exists, they have 2000+ years of very strong Christian ideas to wrestle with.

So yeah, it's definitely a good thing if an atheist tries to see things as though there was a God to understand a Christian position. Unfortunately, I've never heard one do that.
Well the general idea is that IF god exists, according to how he is defined in the bible, then we would expect god's actions to align with his characteristics. It's the same thing with the bible, for it to have merit it should at the very least not contradict it's core teachings. If in one book it said salvation is through jesus christ only, and in another said salvation was through a flying hippo and they were actually just joking when they said jesus, then I think it would be reasonable to assume the bible is fiction. And since God is described in the bible, his characteristics are known to some degree. The problem of evil just tries to show a contradiction. I'm not saying it's right, because i think it is flawed, but IF the problem of evil was valid i see no reason not to discredit the idea of god (of the bible anyways).

i DO agree that many atheists argue from emotion in regards to subjects like this, but that is a problem with the atheists themselves, not with the argument. The argument itself is reasonably constructed, even if it does not turn out to be sound. As to the last bit, I can't really say i've heard an atheist do that either, I'm agnostic so I guess i don't quite fit the criteria eh ? :ewink:

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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#49

Post by DannyM » Fri Nov 26, 2010 5:06 am

Echoside wrote: Now, it seems like we have similar objections to the argument itself, I suppose this paragraph is mostly where my confusion lies.
DannyM wrote:
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.

To me, it sounds like you are saying the atheist isn't even ALLOWED to try and argue against God, because the atheist doesn't think god exists. It's a hypothetical IF question. IF god exists, why does the world have suffering. IF zeus exists, why can't we see him on mount olympus. There's a difference between "why did god do this, and IF god exists why did he do this.

I agree with reasonings to why evil can exist, I disagree with saying that when asking the questions you presuppose god exists, and are wrong before any logical examining of the premises has even taken place. Did i misunderstand your position?
Okay, I'm now clear on what your objection is.

There is an underlying recognition of evil and suffering. The atheist does not say, "On Christian premises, evil exists." He is not saying that at all. There is an assumption of evil and suffering. But in an atheistic worldview there is no evil and there is no suffering. Evil and suffering are words which have no inherent meaning in an atheistic worldview.

That is why the so-called problem of evil is not a problem at all. It is a mystery for the believer. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the atheist. For the atheist to identify a 'problem' with evil is for an atheist to immediately contradict his own worldview, and in a fundamental way.
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#50

Post by DannyM » Fri Nov 26, 2010 5:06 am

Echoside wrote: Now, it seems like we have similar objections to the argument itself, I suppose this paragraph is mostly where my confusion lies.
DannyM wrote:
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.

To me, it sounds like you are saying the atheist isn't even ALLOWED to try and argue against God, because the atheist doesn't think god exists. It's a hypothetical IF question. IF god exists, why does the world have suffering. IF zeus exists, why can't we see him on mount olympus. There's a difference between "why did god do this, and IF god exists why did he do this.

I agree with reasonings to why evil can exist, I disagree with saying that when asking the questions you presuppose god exists, and are wrong before any logical examining of the premises has even taken place. Did i misunderstand your position?
Okay, I'm now clear on what your objection is.

There is an underlying recognition of evil and suffering. The atheist does not say, "On Christian premises, evil exists." He is not saying that at all. There is an assumption of evil and suffering. But in an atheistic worldview there is no evil and there is no suffering. Evil and suffering are words which have no inherent meaning in an atheistic worldview.

That is why the so-called problem of evil is not a problem at all. It is a mystery for the believer. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the atheist. For the atheist to identify a 'problem' with evil is for an atheist to immediately contradict his own worldview, and in a fundamental way.
credo ut intelligam

dei gratia

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