Good, Evil, and God

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Drafterman

<drafterman@gmail.com>
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Oct 15, 2009, 12:19:25 PM10/15/09
to Atheism vs Christianity
This post is related to the (somewhat) on-going debates about the
Problem of Evil as well as the more recent post by christian about
God, Good and Evil.

The problem comes about what good and evil are, in relation to God.

If we define good and evil based upon God, then the discussion ends.
If it is take a priori that everything God does is good, then that
certainly would eliminate the Problem of Evil, but not the way
Christians intend.

The intention (as far as I can infer) is that God = Good leads to the
solution that, yes there is evil, but it is being handled, by God in
the best possible way. That this is the most good of all possible
worlds.

But in reality, God = Good undermines the Problem of Evil by
invalidating the very premise that evil exists.

This is because that the terms "good" and "evil" that are in use by
people on an everyday level cannot be "good" and "evil" as based upon
the notion that God = Good. If we are going to make an argument based
upon these terms, then we have to be consistent.

If we judge God as good based upon God = Good then we also have to
judge evil based upon that premise as well. We cannot judge God as
good based upon God = Good and then judge evil based upon it's
everyday use. It is this type of equivocation that is being used when
Christians respond to the Problem of Evil with the God = Good
solution.

The problem with God = Good is that it completely eliminates our
ability to judge "good" and "evil" in an everyday context. When God =
Good then the only actions that are good are those that God himself
would do. But we don't know that without God explicitly confirming it.
As Christians are always quick to remind us: God is privvy to an
innumerable amount of details that we are not. Lacking these details
means we can never know if any given act is good or evil unless God
personally gives you the thumbs up.

Since good and evil are related, this also applies to evil. Without
God directly telling us what is good and evil, we can't judge that
evil even exists.

But humans can and do judge the goodness and evilocity of everyday
acts. So, in pratice, we use a conception of good and evil that is not
based upon God = Good. Not only does this bring the Problem of Evil
back into place, but it also gives us the freedom to judge God as Not
Good.

Trance Gemini

<trancegemini7@gmail.com>
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Oct 15, 2009, 12:47:31 PM10/15/09
to atheism-vs-christianity@googlegroups.com
Thanks for providing the next New Atheism posting. I know you're going to yes so this is just an opportunity to say no to my posting it if you choose to :-).
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flying gorilla

<ryan.klemek@gmail.com>
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Oct 15, 2009, 12:56:11 PM10/15/09
to Atheism vs Christianity
Humans are not qualified to judge god. Unless, that is, they judge him
to be good. For some reason, humans ARE qualified to judge god as
good. Even though his standard of "good" doesn't conform to the
standard of "good" he created in us. It would be much more logically
consistent within the confines of their beliefs if they just stuck
with "God is just" and didn't try to cram "God is good" into it. "God
is just" explains all of his behavior, actually, since he created the
standard of justice. And it wouldn't matter if we thought he was good
or not, we would still have to obey or be punished. But, as you
pointed out, we have our own standard of good that is acceptable to
judge everything in the universe except god. Which is why there is
difficulty in reconciling the two definitions. Obviously, they cling
to "good" because they get more comfort, and snatch up more converts.
People are too complacent to be drawn in only by fear of punishment
these days.

er, what I meant was...

rather, your premise is not tenable. Humans are not the measure of...

klytu

<jazzyjeff34@hotmail.com>
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Oct 15, 2009, 1:38:05 PM10/15/09
to Atheism vs Christianity


On Oct 15, 12:19 pm, Drafterman <drafter...@gmail.com> wrote:
From what I have come to understand, this notion that God=Good has its
roots in the philosophy of idealism. I would infer from previous posts
of yours that you are familiar with idealism, but for those who might
not be I'll paraphrase what I remember that is relevant to your
excellent post.

In idealism, the perfect Forms are thought to exist independently of
any mind and independent of the material world. Evil in this
philosophy appears as a lack of perfection when compared to a perfect
form. To say a thing is bad(evil) or good involves comparing the
thing to its analagous perfect form, the ultimate Form being "the
Good". To say whether an action of an entity is good or evil involves
comparing the action to what that of a perfect entity would be in that
circumstance. For example, to say a circle is a "bad" circle means
that it compares poorly with the perfect Form of a circle. To say a
person does something evil then means that you have a conception or
form of a perfect person in mind and you know what that perfect person
would do in that situation. "The Good" cannot be anything but
perfectly good; and anything that is not "The Good" is evil in some
way. Evil is thus a lack of perfection. The farther away from
perfection, the more evil.

When I first studied Idealism, I was astonished at the similarity
between what Christians refer to as the "spiritual" world and the
"realm of the Forms"; and the parallel between the Good and the notion
the God = Good. This realization was one of the first steps in my
journey away from the Christian belief system.

Simon Ewins

<sjewins@gmail.com>
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Oct 15, 2009, 1:44:11 PM10/15/09
to Drafterman
I think that the best one can say about God and evil is that God is
indifferent to our suffering.

For example, if it is held that God created us via the mechanisms of
evolution, which some Christians seem to be adopting, then suffering
would be necessary in order to evolve. With no suffering there is not
as much fertile ground for mutations to take hold.

So, I think that perhaps an indifferent God that used evolution as a
tool is not a God that would see evil and suffering as a bad thing
because it is a necessary tool to gain what the god wants.

Of course this raises questions about the power of the god and why it
would choose such a convoluted route to reach its goal. However, I
have not noted anywhere that God is particularly bright, so convolution
can be assumed.

OTOH, perhaps the god is not all-powerful and actually is limited to
some extent (ie. God is actually an advanced alien species that
terra-formed this planet and seeded it with the beginnings of life).



On 10/15/09, Drafterman inscribed in silicon forever:

Drafterman> This post is related to the (somewhat) on-going debates about the
Drafterman> Problem of Evil as well as the more recent post by christian about
Drafterman> God, Good and Evil.

Drafterman> The problem comes about what good and evil are, in relation to God.

Drafterman> If we define good and evil based upon God, then the discussion ends.
Drafterman> If it is take a priori that everything God does is good, then that
Drafterman> certainly would eliminate the Problem of Evil, but not the way
Drafterman> Christians intend.

Drafterman> The intention (as far as I can infer) is that God = Good leads to the
Drafterman> solution that, yes there is evil, but it is being handled, by God in
Drafterman> the best possible way. That this is the most good of all possible
Drafterman> worlds.

Drafterman> But in reality, God = Good undermines the Problem of Evil by
Drafterman> invalidating the very premise that evil exists.

Drafterman> This is because that the terms "good" and "evil" that are in use by
Drafterman> people on an everyday level cannot be "good" and "evil" as based upon
Drafterman> the notion that God = Good. If we are going to make an argument based
Drafterman> upon these terms, then we have to be consistent.

Drafterman> If we judge God as good based upon God = Good then we also have to
Drafterman> judge evil based upon that premise as well. We cannot judge God as
Drafterman> good based upon God = Good and then judge evil based upon it's
Drafterman> everyday use. It is this type of equivocation that is being used when
Drafterman> Christians respond to the Problem of Evil with the God = Good
Drafterman> solution.

Drafterman> The problem with God = Good is that it completely eliminates our
Drafterman> ability to judge "good" and "evil" in an everyday context. When God =
Drafterman> Good then the only actions that are good are those that God himself
Drafterman> would do. But we don't know that without God explicitly confirming it.
Drafterman> As Christians are always quick to remind us: God is privvy to an
Drafterman> innumerable amount of details that we are not. Lacking these details
Drafterman> means we can never know if any given act is good or evil unless God
Drafterman> personally gives you the thumbs up.

Drafterman> Since good and evil are related, this also applies to evil. Without
Drafterman> God directly telling us what is good and evil, we can't judge that
Drafterman> evil even exists.

Drafterman> But humans can and do judge the goodness and evilocity of everyday
Drafterman> acts. So, in pratice, we use a conception of good and evil that is not
Drafterman> based upon God = Good. Not only does this bring the Problem of Evil
Drafterman> back into place, but it also gives us the freedom to judge God as Not
Drafterman> Good.
Drafterman>


--
No Gods, No Masters

"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do,
because I notice it always coincides with their own desires."
[Susan B. Anthony]

Drafterman

<drafterman@gmail.com>
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Oct 15, 2009, 2:17:23 PM10/15/09
to Atheism vs Christianity
You're good. :)
> ------------------------------------------------------------------- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

Brock

<brockorgan@gmail.com>
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Oct 23, 2009, 4:17:27 PM10/23/09
to Atheism vs Christianity


On Oct 15, 12:19 pm, Drafterman <drafter...@gmail.com> wrote:
> This post is related to the (somewhat) on-going debates about the
> Problem of Evil

Problem solved, as Augustine noted so well:

"God judged it better to bring good out of evil than to suffer no evil
to exist."

Regards,

Brock

Doris Ragland

<dr4371@gmail.com>
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Oct 25, 2009, 12:10:09 PM10/25/09
to atheism-vs-christianity@googlegroups.com
God also said to bless your foe....Is there a degree to  Evil?   And evil has no power over the Jesus..The story of the Man that had legions of demons in him---Jesus cast these out of the man and they went into a group of pigs and the pigs ran over the clift...the point to this story ...Is we have the aurthority to cast out evil...Jesus also said I give you power to tread on Scropions and seprent's---This show's me evil can bediscarded in people and become whole and clean--The problem with Evil I think is some are blind to what they serve...and some are Evil...Do we count the Man or the Evil within him ?  Evil to me is when someone actually know what they are doing and very aware---Examples Hitler-has we talk about before-  Charles Mason----so fourth---Is their a measurement on Evil----So is black and White--or is there degree's---The problem with Evil it should not exist....

Brock Organ

<brockorgan@gmail.com>
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Oct 26, 2009, 11:44:40 AM10/26/09
to atheism-vs-christianity@googlegroups.com
On Sun, Oct 25, 2009 at 12:10 PM, Doris Ragland <dr4...@gmail.com> wrote:
> God also said to bless your foe....Is there a degree to  Evil?   And evil
> has no power over the Jesus..The story of the Man that had legions of demons
> in him---Jesus cast these out of the man and they went into a group of pigs
> and the pigs ran over the clift...the point to this story ...Is we have the
> aurthority to cast out evil...Jesus also said I give you power to tread on
> Scropions and seprent's---This show's me evil can bediscarded in people and
> become whole and clean--The problem with Evil I think is some are blind to
> what they serve...and some are Evil...Do we count the Man or the Evil within
> him ?  Evil to me is when someone actually know what they are doing and very
> aware---Examples Hitler-has we talk about before-  Charles Mason----so
> fourth---Is their a measurement on Evil----So is black and White--or is
> there degree's---The problem with Evil it should not exist....

I don't agree that the existence of evil presents an epistemological
problem for Christianity. The truth is that evil has but a short
season and no future:

http://nasb.scripturetext.com/matthew/13.htm

(See "Tares among Wheat")

Regards,

Brock

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