God, a suffering world?

God, a suffering world?
quagmire444
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Posted Nov 12, 2012 - 11:19 PM:
Subject: God, a suffering world?
What do your minds believe? Is it possible for the Christian concept of God, an all-loving, all-powerful, all good God to exist and for there to be also suffering in the world. Im curious to know objections, because I personally believe the two can be reconciled.
FrankLeeSeaux
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Posted Nov 12, 2012 - 11:24 PM:

quagmire444 wrote:
What do your minds believe? Is it possible for the Christian concept of God, an all-loving, all-powerful, all good God to exist and for there to be also suffering in the world. Im curious to know objections, because I personally believe the two can be reconciled.


How about offering your considered, reconciliations then? For anyone to offer their objections would likely send up your little red flags. However, in the process of attempting some reconciliation, you may, and will likely run into your own objections.
quagmire444
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Posted Nov 13, 2012 - 12:27 AM:

I am having an incredibly difficult time trying to post without getting errors. I've been trying about 30 minutes now. Sorry I am trying to post my response as soon as possible.
quagmire444
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Posted Nov 13, 2012 - 12:28 AM:

Initially I wrote a very long excerpt, and realized it wasn't well organized. So I've decided to rewrite this and try to outline my points.
1. God is all-good(implying all just), and all-loving(unconditional).
2. The next big point to be established for us to get anywhere is the purpose of human existence. I am not completely familiar with scripture, but part of what I know the Christian theology proposes about life is that one purpose is to enjoy God, to love God, and for God to express his love to us back.
3. Since we have the ability to love God, we also have the ability to hate God, or feel indifference towards God. I propose this because love is a choice.
4. Since there are many of us here, we also have the ability to love each other, or to commit evil and murder each other, lie, and steal from each other.
5. A lot of human suffering comes from the evil that we do to each other. One may say why can God, if he loves us so greatly, not remove those who commit great evil in this world. Well if God is all-good he would obviously have to remove all evil in the world, no matter the form. Evil is another term I may need to define but one aspect of it is selfishness, at least human committed evil. We are all capable of great evil, or great love to one another. I do not believe tho that our world is what is once was, although I do believe it could be through simply doing good deeds to each other. It is difficult tho, because we all commit some form of selfish acts. In one respect, I think a perfect loving world relies on everyone to be selfless, so we will never completely achieve our goal.
6. What about evil caused by nature? (I should remind you I am attempting to reconcile the belief that the God of Christianity cannot co-exist with our world today because of the atrocities that exist, I will make several assumptions, one such being God created the Universe, which is not part of this debate.) Part of what Christianity believes is that the world is not what it once was. It has been in a constant state of decay, and the mutations caused to our genes which create illness that lead to human despair is part of it. But why should the sins of mankind affect the natural law of the Universe. I think its a peculiar statement that the Bible makes that. Mainly because it may be possible that both our Universe and Mankind have free will. It has been proposed by two Princeton mathematicians that if mankind is to have choice, then so do the smallest subatomic particles. This argument has been criticized from some points of view that I see, or not contended at all but just left to be because of the difficult of further extrapolating upon the hypothesis. I do think it is interesting tho. Whether the Universe functions on choice, or random processes, it seems similar to how we do as well. Could there perhaps be a connection, that for us to have free will, then so must the Universe have free will or random processes. A lot of this is theoretical, and I will admit on the aspect of nature I cannot give you a complete answer, most specifically here because I don't arrange my thoughts very well, they tend to just run around and I must chase them. Well this is my first response on this site so here it goes.
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Posted Nov 13, 2012 - 4:48 AM:

quagmire444 wrote:
Initially I wrote a very long excerpt, and realized it wasn't well organized. So I've decided to rewrite this and try to outline my points.
1. God is all-good(implying all just), and all-loving(unconditional).
2. The next big point to be established for us to get anywhere is the purpose of human existence. I am not completely familiar with scripture, but part of what I know the Christian theology proposes about life is that one purpose is to enjoy God, to love God, and for God to express his love to us back.
3. Since we have the ability to love God, we also have the ability to hate God, or feel indifference towards God. I propose this because love is a choice.
4. Since there are many of us here, we also have the ability to love each other, or to commit evil and murder each other, lie, and steal from each other.
5. A lot of human suffering comes from the evil that we do to each other. One may say why can God, if he loves us so greatly, not remove those who commit great evil in this world. Well if God is all-good he would obviously have to remove all evil in the world, no matter the form. Evil is another term I may need to define but one aspect of it is selfishness, at least human committed evil. We are all capable of great evil, or great love to one another. I do not believe tho that our world is what is once was, although I do believe it could be through simply doing good deeds to each other. It is difficult tho, because we all commit some form of selfish acts. In one respect, I think a perfect loving world relies on everyone to be selfless, so we will never completely achieve our goal.
6. What about evil caused by nature? (I should remind you I am attempting to reconcile the belief that the God of Christianity cannot co-exist with our world today because of the atrocities that exist, I will make several assumptions, one such being God created the Universe, which is not part of this debate.) Part of what Christianity believes is that the world is not what it once was. It has been in a constant state of decay, and the mutations caused to our genes which create illness that lead to human despair is part of it. But why should the sins of mankind affect the natural law of the Universe. I think its a peculiar statement that the Bible makes that. Mainly because it may be possible that both our Universe and Mankind have free will. It has been proposed by two Princeton mathematicians that if mankind is to have choice, then so do the smallest subatomic particles. This argument has been criticized from some points of view that I see, or not contended at all but just left to be because of the difficult of further extrapolating upon the hypothesis. I do think it is interesting tho. Whether the Universe functions on choice, or random processes, it seems similar to how we do as well. Could there perhaps be a connection, that for us to have free will, then so must the Universe have free will or random processes. A lot of this is theoretical, and I will admit on the aspect of nature I cannot give you a complete answer, most specifically here because I don't arrange my thoughts very well, they tend to just run around and I must chase them. Well this is my first response on this site so here it goes.

I don't see the reconciliation. You nowhere answer the question "why does God allow evil to exist?".
FrankLeeSeaux
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Posted Nov 13, 2012 - 7:34 AM:

In this post, I noticed a lot of things which appear promising for you, as well as defeating for your position. Positions you hold which are, in the end, difficult to reconcile. By promising, I mean that you obviously have a brain and are willing to use it. By defeating, I mean, there are some things in your proposition which will likely prove incompatible, upon attempts at reconciliation.

So, I would like to encourage you to sit still for a moment or two, and meditate. Even as an atheist(self proclaimed label for sake of conversation), I spend a lot of time in meditation(pensive, focused thought).

I also see that your thoughts on this matter, at least at the moment of writing, do tend to get scattered. So, I will attempt to aid you in gathering those thoughts coherently, even if not cohesively, before I begin to deconstruct them.

Remember, I believe that the concept is so contentious and unsound, from the ground up, that it will undo itself under the microspoe. However, as I've realized with a lot of theists, there does seem to be a cognitive dissonance at play, which, in some light, tends to blind the observer to the truth or falsity of it.

In the course of religious apologetics there are a great number of logical fallacies which often appear, and I(along with others, suchas busycuttingcrap, hurlock, and several others, who have faced a lot of their own logical fallacies) will likely be pointing those out to you.

There will also, likely be a few theists who will be arguing your cause... So you shouldn't feel as though you are being "mentally gang raped" at any point. (Yeah, I sometimes use colorful analogies)

quagmire444 wrote:
Initially I wrote a very long excerpt, and realized it wasn't well organized. So I've decided to rewrite this and try to outline my points.
1. God is all-good(implying all just), and all-loving(unconditional).


This is a good start. In fact, I would like to encourage you to list, for your own benefit, all the attributes which you believe apply to this concept of God. Remember also, that this is the philosophy forum, wherein logic is the watch word of the day, even for Rationalists. As such, God is perceived as a concept, which may or may not refer to an actual being. What some hold to be actual is, at times, contentious. Some hold the abstract to be actual, despite the definitions being contrary to such a notion.

quagmire444 wrote:

2. The next big point to be established for us to get anywhere is the purpose of human existence. I am not completely familiar with scripture, but part of what I know the Christian theology proposes about life is that one purpose is to enjoy God, to love God, and for God to express his love to us back.


In reconciliation, then, you will need to square this with spects of Biblical text which suggest that God has destroyed mankind to the last five survivors(Noah's flood, Sodom and Gammorah, etc). Many Christians have very little Biblical knowledge/familiarity. I remember, as a child, being asked to turn to several ditinct passages in the Bible, for study and contemplation. I also remember wondering, "Why all the skipping around?" It seemed to me that a study of the Bible, as the inerrent word of God, should be comprehensive.

quagmire444 wrote:

3. Since we have the ability to love God, we also have the ability to hate God, or feel indifference towards God. I propose this because love is a choice.


This sounds like an argument for Free Will, which some use as an explanation of evil existing in the world, suggesting that Man is inherently evil. However, that notion would need to be squared with altruism, love, and compassion, even for animals of other species, even among non-theists/atheists, who were never religious, as well as those with a past history of belief.

quagmire444 wrote:

4. Since there are many of us here, we also have the ability to love each other, or to commit evil and murder each other, lie, and steal from each other.


Case in point. If so much love and compassion can exist in Man, then it doesn't seem that Man can be as evil as the existence of evil by his free will would seem to suggest.

quagmire444 wrote:

5. A lot of human suffering comes from the evil that we do to each other. One may say why can God, if he loves us so greatly, not remove those who commit great evil in this world. Well if God is all-good he would obviously have to remove all evil in the world, no matter the form. Evil is another term I may need to define but one aspect of it is selfishness, at least human committed evil. We are all capable of great evil, or great love to one another. I do not believe tho that our world is what is once was, although I do believe it could be through simply doing good deeds to each other. It is difficult tho, because we all commit some form of selfish acts. In one respect, I think a perfect loving world relies on everyone to be selfless, so we will never completely achieve our goal.


Again, does not square with the story of Noah, wherein God destroyed all the evil of the world and within a few scant generations, it resurfaced, stemming, apparently, from the one family God saved from the flood.

Also, you say that you do not believe the world is as it once was. But, you never bother to describe how the world was, nor when it might have been that way. Remember, even the Garden of Eden had serpents(snakes, great deceivers)

Funny thing about that serpent in the Garden, just as a side note... It is referred to as the deceiver, but, it never said anything which was not true.

quagmire444 wrote:

6. What about evil caused by nature? (I should remind you I am attempting to reconcile the belief that the God of Christianity cannot co-exist with our world today because of the atrocities that exist, I will make several assumptions, one such being God created the Universe, which is not part of this debate.)


In my opinion, it is a bad idea to make any more assuptions than necessary, since assumptions are, by their nature, speculative conditionals.

Example, If A is true, then B. If A and B are true, then Z. It becomes an infinite regression of conditional statements, only some of which are true, and many of which are likely false. And all of them contingent upon each other. One ends up with a cofused mess of associated contingent articles of faith, and no reasoned argument.

But, at least you can admit that these are assumptions, which should allow for their dismissal, if at some future point they should prove useless/unnecessary.

quagmire444 wrote:


Part of what Christianity believes is that the world is not what it once was.


Still not at all certain what you mean here, or when that world would have existed, or even the form it took. Are we talking about unicorns and fairies roaming the earth freely? Are we talking about the Garden of Eden? Was this 2,000 years ago, or 10,000?

quagmire444 wrote:


It has been in a constant state of decay, and the mutations caused to our genes which create illness that lead to human despair is part of it.


What, in your view, is the cause, reason, or purpose in these mutations of which you speak?

quagmire444 wrote:


But why should the sins of mankind affect the natural law of the Universe.


That is a good question. You should hazzard an answer.

quagmire444 wrote:


I think its a peculiar statement that the Bible makes that. Mainly because it may be possible that both our Universe and Mankind have free will. It has been proposed by two Princeton mathematicians that if mankind is to have choice, then so do the smallest subatomic particles.


That probably stems from the notion/fact that we are made up of all those tiny particles. This would be a meterialistic, or physicalistic view point.

quagmire444 wrote:


This argument has been criticized from some points of view that I see, or not contended at all but just left to be because of the difficult of further extrapolating upon the hypothesis. I do think it is interesting tho.


It is an interesting and intriguing argument... Partly because it would be the undoing of physicalists who believe a God. But, it would be meaningless todualists and idealists.

quagmire444 wrote:


Whether the Universe functions on choice, or random processes, it seems similar to how we do as well.


That, in a lot of ways, may stem from a proxy of ego... Your sense of self projected upon the world.

quagmire444 wrote:


Could there perhaps be a connection, that for us to have free will, then so must the Universe have free will or random processes. A lot of this is theoretical, and I will admit on the aspect of nature I cannot give you a complete answer, most specifically here because I don't arrange my thoughts very well, they tend to just run around and I must chase them. Well this is my first response on this site so here it goes.


One thing that may help you in this endeavor, of collecting thoughts...

Write them down, as they occur. And then, compare them at a later time.
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Posted Nov 13, 2012 - 10:46 AM:

The problem lies in making God and Creation one and the same thing.

For the sake of not saying ridiculous things, we should say as little as possible about Supreme Beings, especially if we suppose them to be real. However, here is one possible reconciliation between a an all-good God and human existence which is not even somewhat good sometimes:

God can be all good, but the created world was not made all good. It isn't that god created specific evils with which to plague us at times, but rather, God created a world separate from himself and it came to have evil (that at least is one strand of Christian thinking about the matter.)

God is present everywhere in the cosmos but is not the cosmos.
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Posted Nov 13, 2012 - 10:58 AM:

quagmire444 wrote:
What do your minds believe? Is it possible for the Christian concept of God, an all-loving, all-powerful, all good God to exist and for there to be also suffering in the world. Im curious to know objections, because I personally believe the two can be reconciled.


There is suffering in the world.
God has the power to prevent suffering in the world.

The only way that these two contradictory conditions can simultaneously obtain is if you redefine either suffering or god in such a way that the contradiction is eliminated.

You can redefine a good god and suffering as relative properties.
Such as, God is all good because the suffering he prevents is greater than the suffering he allows and the net result is good.
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Posted Nov 13, 2012 - 11:29 AM:

It depends what you want. If God created us and gave us free will, then it is not hard to see why there is evil in the world. He could have created us without a free will, and we would be merely complicated machines behaving in a predictable way, but that way there would be no suffering. You must decide what you want. You cannot have both freedom + no suffering. God created the best possible of all worlds, as Leibniz stated. This world has the potential to become a beautiful world with almost no suffering, based on the concept of freedom. But whether that will ever happen, is another question.

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Posted Nov 13, 2012 - 12:17 PM:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodicy
theodicy ( /θiːˈ—‘d—�si/ from Greek theos "god" + dike "justice") is an attempt to resolve the evidential problem of evil by reconciling the traditional divine characteristics of omnibenevolence, omnipotence, and omniscience with the occurrence of evil or suffering in the world.


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best_...est_of_all_possible_worlds
The phrase "the best of all possible worlds" (French: le meilleur des mondes possibles; German: Die beste aller möglichen Welten) was coined by the German polymath Gottfried Leibniz in his 1710 work Essais de Théodicée sur la bonté de Dieu, la liberté de l'homme et l'origine du mal (Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man and the Origin of Evil). The claim that the actual world is the best of all possible worlds is the central argument in Leibniz's theodicy, or his attempt to solve the problem of evil.


For Leibniz, an additional central concern is the matter of reconciling human freedom (indeed, God's own freedom) with the determinism inherent in his own theory of the universe. Leibniz' solution casts God as a kind of "optimizer" of the collection of all original possibilities: Since He is good and omnipotent, and since He chose this world out of all possibilities, this world must be good—in fact, this world is the best of all possible worlds.


On the one hand, this view might help us rationalize some of what we experience: Imagine that all the world is made of good and evil. The best possible world would have the most good and the least evil. Courage is better than no courage. It might be observed, then, that without evil to challenge us, there can be no courage. Since evil brings out the best aspects of humanity, evil is regarded as necessary. Necessity of opposites and the principle of limitation in creation of value.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil


Irenaean theodicyIrenaean theodicy, posited by Irenaeus (2nd century AD – c. 202), has been reformulated by John Hick. It holds that one cannot achieve moral goodness or love for God if there is no evil and suffering in the world. Evil is soul-making and leads one to be truly moral and close to God.


Augustinian TheodicySt Augustine of Hippo (354 AD – 430) in his Augustinian theodicy focuses on the Genesis story that essentially dictates that God created the world and that it was good; evil is merely a consequence of the fall of man


St. Thomas AquinasSaint Thomas systematized the Augustinian conception of evil, supplementing it with his own musings. Evil, according to St. Thomas, is a privation, or the absence of some good which belongs properly to the nature of the creature.[62] There is therefore no positive source of evil, corresponding to the greater good, which is God;


Evil as the absence of good in article: Absence of good
Skeptical theism Skeptical theists argue that due to humanity's limited knowledge, we cannot expect to understand God or his ultimate plan also the book of Job


Afterlife The afterlife has also been cited as justifying evil. Christian theologian Randy Alcorn argues that the joys of heaven will compensate for the sufferings on earth, and writes:


Free will The free will response asserts that the existence of free beings is something of tremendous value, because with free will comes the ability to make morally significant choices (and, it may be added, to enter into authentic loving relationships[24]). With it also comes the potential for abuse, as when we fail to act morally. End Wikipedia


Denial of omniscience, omnipotence, omnibenevolence
This is my personal and favorite approach along with the process theology approach.
Although I support theism; (largely because I think seeing the universe on a grand scale as accidental and purposeless is a mistake), I do not support orthodox or classical theism. I also support religion because I think it serves mans need for higher or transcendent purpose value and meaning and has been a constant feature of human culture, history and society. Even now, if one wishes to understand history or current political and social realities knowledge of religion is required.


I see God as both a creative force and a rational intelligence but not as omnipotent, omniscient or omnibenevolent (in human terms).


God brings forth order and form out of the deep, the void, the primordial chaos. It is an ongoing struggle (much like Plato’s demiurge), an ongoing creative process, not a completed act and god is not a coercive but a persuasive agent. Other creatures and other entities have their own power (god is not omnipotent).
God is a rational agent, thus the order, the mathematical intelligibility and representation of nature but god is not human and does not necessarily share our human concerns

.
God does not know the future for the future does not yet exist to be known even to God. The future is the interaction between possibility and actuality with real and meaningful degrees of creaturely freedom. God is not omniscient.


The purpose of the universe is creative advance (forms wondrous and beautiful) which necessarily includes creative destruction. The purpose of the universe is not man (per se) but the creation of forms of increasing value, complexity and experience.


The earth is not the center of the universe, man is not the crown of creation, and there are no punishments in hell or rewards in heaven. There is only the temporary opportunity to appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature and to align oneself with the divine process of the continuous creative advance of nature into novelty, experience and value. IMHO
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