# The God, Evil and Suffering Paradox.

Royce said:
I have long thought that evil does not exist. The word "evil" is an adjective not a noun. There are evil deeds and evil people; but, evil is not a thing in and of itself. All that we see as evil is the doings of Mankind and due to his way of thinking and living.
I have already proven that evil exists, no matter what part of a sentence it is positioned. I meant "evil" as everything on earth that is not good.

Royce said:
"All the darkness in the universe cannot extinguish one small candle yet, one small candle can illuminate an entire room."
Try to be realistic instead of quoting bible vers or text inspired by it (i think that that is what it was:P). But if you want to be metaphysical, that is fine by me. There hasn't been any insident in the history of modern world where that has worked for real

Royce said:
I believe that it is the self absorbed ego that does the seducing not evil.
Man exploits Man which is evil. Evil is and does nothing by itself.
Well if man is evil, he can be called evil, and what happens when he seduce another human? That is evil at work using chainreactions.

Royce said:
I do not see where this is evil. Why should you give your hard earned $4,000 to the administrators of the Red Cross so that they can pass on$32 to the people actually in need. Charity is not a duty, especially to those who have much more than you.
I never claimed it was :P You fail to see my point; evil is spread by not acting and good is spread by acting .

As for your attack on the Red Cross, I would like to say that you are quite wrong. Actually, they estimate that >95% goes directly to thier projects.

Royce said:
No offense, but none of this makes any sense to me at all. Are there two gods of nearly equal powers on Earth, one Good and the other Evil?
There is only One and all that is, is One. Disease and evil is a result of our poor choices and ignorance not evil. There is no battle nor battlefield. This is not the Clash of the Titans. That is all mythology.
I never stated that there was more than one God. God is much, much, much more powerfull than evil, just not in a position to conquer evil by his/her/its own

Poor choices and ignorance is evil, seduced by otherhuman beings.

Evil is a result of poor choices and ignorance aswell as being a made by poor choises and ignorance.

If it were true that there were no battle between good and evil, we would either have all good or all evil, which we have not.

As for mythology, i would like to state that most of philosophy is based on mythology.

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Mattara, your definition of evil appears to be things you don't like, and of good to be things you do like. What kind of objective morality or ethics is that?

That sounds interesting! Can you clarify it a bit?

This is the nub of your theodicy, everything else is just curlicues around it.
And what basis do you have for this statement? If your god is omnipotent then why can't he have created an evolved species (indeed ALL evolved species) that is sin-free and able to learn and change in a sin-free manner? Because he's OMNIPOTENT he should be able to do this.
Then if he didn't it must be that for some reason he didn't want to, and we're back to Yahweh's reply to Job: "My ways are above your ways".
But the only criterion for goodness we have is our human one, based on what we think good parents would do for their children. "Would a Father, when his son asked for bread, give him a stone?" And by this standard your god is not good; He could have given us bread but handed us a lump of coal instead.
Merrry Christmas.
One of the most important steps in a human child's development is realizing that it's parents are imperfect.
On earth it is clear and obvious that children grow up to be much like their parents as our society becomes much like God; testing, judging, and punishing the inocent as well as guilty.
Society over time becomes all seeing and all knowing
Society may have a judgment day where all of society is judged by it's own standards if not for forgiveness society would be destroyed by such judgements.

maybe it's our idea of God that is flawed...
just because we have been thinking and talking about God in the same way for centuries, doesn't mean that it is appropriate.

Mattara said:
I have already proven that evil exists, no matter what part of a sentence it is positioned. I meant "evil" as everything on earth that is not good.
Everything on earth that is not good is evil, not Evil is everything on earth is not good. Many people think or believe that Evil exist as a force or power and is personified by the Devil. This is the point that I am trying to make. Things may be evil, but evil is not a thing.

Try to be realistic instead of quoting bible verse or text inspired by it (i think that that is what it was:P). But if you want to be metaphysical, that is fine by me. There hasn't been any insight in the history of modern world where that has worked for real
I am being realistic. It is a simple parable that shows that Evil or darkness has no power or force of its own. Light and truth as well as good does have power of its own. In this we agree. We just put it in different ways.

This is the metaphysical sub-forum and this thread is metaphysical as is virtually everything written here.

Only to those who have no modern insight in the modern world has insight not worked for real. Those of us who do have insight into the modern world know that it works for real. This insight is the motivation for starting this thread. It worked! Its on its sixth page already. Its got people thinking and talking about it.

Well if man is evil, he can be called evil, and what happens when he seduce another human? That is evil at work using chain reactions.
Man is not evil. Some of the thing some men and women do are evil.

One cannot be seduced unless one is willing to be seduced just like you can't con an honest man.

I never claimed it was :P You fail to see my point; evil is spread by not acting and good is spread by acting .
This is not true. Evil can and is spread by doing evil deeds and, sometimes it is better not to act.

As for your attack on the Red Cross, I would like to say that you are quite wrong. Actually, they estimate that >95% goes directly to their projects.
That may well be but not so long ago it was true and authenticated. They may have changed their ways and if good for them or they may be lying. I don't know. That wasn't my point anyway.

I never stated that there was more than one God. God is much, much, much more powerful than evil, just not in a position to conquer evil by his/her/its own
If He is so powerful, Why not. Or, is there no evil to conquer but a need for growth, insight, civilization and wisdom, the Maturity of Mankind.

If there is only one God, then who is he battling on Battleground Earth?
Himself, Mankind, Non-existent Evil?

As for mythology, i would like to state that most of philosophy is based on mythology.
For you edification Philosophy is based of Reason and Logic. Religion is based on or is mythology.

Amp1
I only read the first page of posts... partially;when I saw Royce reply he believes 'God' to be Omni-everything. Royce 'God' chooses not to be Omni-everything, why...? because it/he/she gave us freewill, therefore 'God' is not omnifident or else we would be robots or automatons. I propose that evolution was designed into the pattern of life, that the creation of the natural laws(physics, ect) became automatic so that 'God' doesn't have to go around tweaking here adjusting there, that creation isn't complete... why?...because this universe is still expanding. I propose that since 'God' isn't cruel(remember it/he/she is good) 'God' has a plan for it(the universe(s) and us) that we probably get hints dropped here and there in time along the course of history but we are still too immature to truly comprehend the big picture . My reasoning follows somewhat along that track.

Math Is Hard
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Amp1 said:
I only read the first page of posts... partially;when I saw Royce reply he believes 'God' to be Omni-everything. Royce 'God' chooses not to be Omni-everything, why...? because it/he/she gave us freewill
Many people who have worked on the classic problem of evil have started out with the definition of God as the "triple O" being, as in omnibenevolent(all-good), omniscient(all-knowing), and omnipotent(all-powerful). This is not something Royce just came up with arbitrarily. If we are going to have a philosophical discussion about "God", we all have to agree on some larger points of what that concept is. If we can't find some kind of common ground, then it's going to seriously hinder our ability to have a discussion.

The "OOO" properties are typically ones that cross the boundaries of different faiths. Your idea of God might be a being with 8 arms and 6 heads, and mine might be an old man with flowing robes and a beard - BUT we can probably still enter into a discussion about God without that causing too much of a problem. Small details. We can probably agree on the larger more generalized properties that many people associate with God (or with God as a pure concept).

But your comment was about how God chooses to act, wasn't it? So I have wandered off again. Forgive me. OK, suppose I can show a way that God could have created a world where people have free will, yet there is no evil. If God had that option, wasn't it a little irrational (and cruel) then for the creator to make things as they are?

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royce said:
I am being realistic. It is a simple parable that shows that Evil or darkness has no power or force of its own. Light and truth as well as good does have power of its own. In this we agree. We just put it in different ways.
on this, i disagree. i think... concerning light and darkness: they are completely and utterly mutually dependant. this is known by the wise as well as by the scientist.

when we look at light, our perception is very much like a motion picture. all we see is a fluid progression of motion, without any breaks or "holes".
actually, though, light is equally darkness and darkness is equally light. i will explain:
consider the wave function of a ray of light; consisting of "peaks" and "troughs". light is very much vibrational; it oscillates between light and dark, at a rate (and with contrast) that is proportional to the length, amplitude and frequency of the wave.
the same is true of sound. all sound is made of "sound" and "silence".
just as light is composed of light and darkness.
silence, conversely, is composed of sound, while darkness, as well, is composed of light.

there is no escaping this fact.

buddha says, "find the middle way"; the way between the extremes; "a string that is too loose will not play and one that is too tight will break. only a string that is tuned just right will ring out clean and pure and true." (not a direct quotation).

light and darkness, sound and silence, white and black is more of a game than a war. just like i need a person to play chess with, or play Halo 2 against, light needs darkness. if i were to annihilate my opponent, there would be no more game.

we might consider figuring out the rules, rather than try to destroy "black" cause we "don't like his face."

May I make the follwing suggestion:

The Christian God (it seems that we are referring to Him in this thread) created the world in seven days, or so legend has it. Now say if "Let there be light" was the big bang and later that evening He created Earth, and from there He went on to create earth as it is, then life, and finally humans. Assuming that each day in the life of God lasted approximately 700-800 million years, and say that the early precursors to humans appeared on God's Saturday (early mammalian types - I could be way off here), then the legend also says that on the seventh day, God decided to take the day off. If that is the case, then the time of "today" which encompasses the whole time modern man has been around is the time period in which God is absent from the Earth and not tending to it. In this case, in the absense of God there is Evil.

Edit: so 800 million years ago is actually the first sign of multicellular life - work with me here :tongue2:

Amp1 said:
I only read the first page of posts... partially;when I saw Royce reply he believes 'God' to be Omni-everything. Royce 'God' chooses not to be Omni-everything, why...? because it/he/she gave us freewill, therefore 'God' is not omnifident or else we would be robots or automatons. I propose that evolution was designed into the pattern of life, that the creation of the natural laws(physics, ect) became automatic so that 'God' doesn't have to go around tweaking here adjusting there, that creation isn't complete... why?...because this universe is still expanding. I propose that since 'God' isn't cruel(remember it/he/she is good) 'God' has a plan for it(the universe(s) and us) that we probably get hints dropped here and there in time along the course of history but we are still too immature to truly comprehend the big picture . My reasoning follows somewhat along that track.
To a large degree I agree with most that you say here.

I stated that for the purpose of this thread that I would assume God is
Omni- everything, not that I believe this to be necessarily true.

I do think that once God decided to create the physical universe in the manner that he did his further choices were limited by the necessities of the method of making it stable and evolving at the same time and be able to have life evolve and thrive. It may be that there is only one way to do this and so he had no choice at at about most of it and the physical laws.

Being still immature to comprehend the big picture is I think quite accurate. I think that enlightenment through meditation is one way at least that we get to see and better understand the big picture, accept it and live with it.

Math Is Hard said:
Many people who have worked on the classic problem of evil have started out with the definition of God as the "triple O" being, as in omnibenevolent(all-good), omniscient(all-knowing), and omnipotent(all-powerful). This is not something Royce just came up with arbitrarily. If we are going to have a philosophical discussion about "God", we all have to agree on some larger points of what that concept is. If we can't find some kind of common ground, then it's going to seriously hinder our ability to have a discussion.
Thanks Math is Hard, your explaination is more to the point and clearer than mine.

sameandnot said:
on this, i disagree. i think... concerning light and darkness: they are completely and utterly mutually dependent. this is known by the wise as well as by the scientist.
Don't take it to literally. For one thing, one way to look at it is that there is no such thing as darkness, merely the absence or lack of intensity of enough light for us to perceive. Photons, real or virtual, are everywhere always, whether particle or wave.

The same way that evil can be seen as no more than the absence or lack of good.

It can become very confusing and get rapidly muddled if we try to associate values with physics.

Amp1
I reason thus although,

Good point Math is Hard,
… I can show a way that God could have created a world where people have free will, yet there is no evil. If God had that option, wasn't it a little irrational (and cruel) then for the creator to make things as they are?
I can’t make a judgment on cruelty but this observation Royce gives is valid I think
I do think that once God decided to create the physical universe in the manner that he did his further choices were limited by the necessities of the method of making it stable and evolving at the same time…
Just as there are a limited number of ways to solve certain equations, to construct some tessellations, to find a solution in packing theory and unscramble a Rubik’s cube or arrange a puzzle.

However,OTOH

Suppose I define the goodness of ‘God’ (not necessarily the Christian version) as being its desire for its creations to have perfection and the beneficial qualities of life including an infinite existence. And further, suppose that there are at least two things that are impossible for ‘God’ to do, 1) Cease to exist. 2) Be less than absolute reality or ‘God’(theory-‘God’ created our reality) then it/she/he may have performed the creation as you suggested with everything created perfect and all creatures having freewill so that the inherent possibilities of the future were well nigh infinite, then it is possible that one or more creation could have chosen not to be good - defined as obedient to ‘God’ were obedience is defined as doing God’s will, willingly or unwillingly(= grudgingly/reluctantly but still doing it) And further, suppose that God’s will is that which is beneficial to all his created beings in achieving the above stated ‘Goodness’.

It seems fair that maybe ‘God’ would allow events to run their course even though some of its creatures may suffer or perish from the results of their own, unforeseen(by them) calamities, and creatures with freewill that choose to commit sin (defined as disobedience to ‘God’) Why? I propose that perhaps being Omniscient, ‘God’ would know the end from the beginning and know that allowing this would exhaust all potential of all possibilities so that in the end everything would return to his/its original plan for perfection and being loving, good and quite clever he may have provided a haven for those personalities that suffered and perished. Why? To ensure all those created had the opportunity to exist and when every personality was resurrected those that made the willfully made the wrong choice would not be among them to repeat the drama again.

Keeping in mind that ‘God’ is the Source of all Life and sovereign of eternity it would be God’s prerogative as to who is brought back.

Hmm. If God gave us free will and we have the ability to choose our path then why do we get punished for choosing against his wish? God then isn't any different than a coersive mobster holding a gun to your head and saying: "If you 'choose' what I deem is good then you may live (you go to heaven), if you 'choose' what I deem is bad then I will shoot you (you go to hell). Now choose". Makes God seem like a nice benevolent guy doesn't it?

Amp1
LaPalida, you are saying someone gets punshed for choosing against the will of 'God'. How about I explain the choice you make is your own and the consequence is yours also? 1) Suppose, God made the natural laws, say Gravity for instance. 2)You know that God desires that you live and have a healthy life. 3) You know gravity is one of the laws of God. 4)You choose to walk off the roof of a 60 story building. Who made you do it? God, no it was your choice. Should God suspend the its natural laws to save you? That would affect more people than just you. Should God suspend its natural laws in just your vicinity? That would be favoritism and would make God who said "I love all of you equally" a liar, an impossibility. (God is absolutely good) Even if you did not know about gravity and performed the action, you would have the same consequence. However, in either case your personality would be preserved for ressurection. Knowing that, an indivdual could repeatedly go against God thinking he/she/it would be revived eventually. However, God said also that the one who repeatedly flaunts his/its mercy would find that their personality existence would be subject to revocation. The removal of the reality of ones existence would be the result. There would be no pain or suffering just a cessation of being as contrasted with burning throughout eternity in some fiery hell. Is that coersive? I think even Lucifer was given the opportunity to repent/change, to be good again.

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LaPalida, you are saying someone gets punshed for choosing against the will of 'God'. How about I explain the choice you make is your own and the consequence is yours also? 1) Suppose, God made the natural laws, say Gravity for instance. 2)You know that God desires that you live and have a healthy life. 3) You know gravity is one of the laws of God. 4)You choose to walk off the roof of a 60 story building. Who made you do it? God, no it was your choice. Should God suspend the its natural laws to save you? That would affect more people than just you. Should God suspend its natural laws in just your vicinity? That would be favoritism and would make God who said "I love all of you equally" a liar, an impossibility. (God is absolutely good) Even if you did not know about gravity and performed the action, you would have the same consequence. However, in either case your personality would be preserved for ressurection. Knowing that, an indivdual could repeatedly go against God thinking he/she/it would be revived eventually. However, God said also that the one who repeatedly flaunts his/its mercy would find that their personality existence would be subject to revocation. The removal of the reality of ones existence would be the result. There would be no pain or suffering just a cessation of being as contrasted with burning throughout eternity in some fiery hell. Is that coersive? I think even Lucifer was given the opportunity to repent/change, to be good again.

"That would be favoritism and would make God who said "I love all of you equally" a liar, an impossibility."

1. Where in the Bible does it say that God loves "all equally" exactly? There is a claim to impartiality, that's about it.

2. God does play favourites. The entire Old Testament is a proof for that. Jews are the God's chosen people. Cain and Abel? Guess God is a rib and steak kind of guy?

"However, God said also that the one who repeatedly flaunts his/its mercy would find that their personality existence would be subject to revocation."

3. Precisely what I am talking about. This is coersive thinking. God of the Bible is a not a gentle/good God but a jealous and insecure God that needs to be worshipped all the time.

4. Walking off of a building is your choice, agreed. Yet why do you get punished for making that choice? Falling to your death is a consequence of that action NOT punishment. Having your existence revoked is punishment for that action. Worse if it was intentional, like suicide, God will inflict an even worse punishment for it. Suicide is a grave sin is it not?

My point is: If you love something set it free, if it comes back to you then it was yours and if it doesn't then it wasn't yours to begin with. Biblical God's view on this: If you love something set it free, if it comes back to you it was yours if it doesn't then hunt it down and kill it. He gives you no choice on the matter and all the talk of "free will" and him wanting you to have the freedom to choose is a sham made to appear like he's giving you some kind of choice.

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What I like to ponder is the point of view of the individual doing the good/evil. If you assume that our reasons for doing good is that it makes us feel better, I'll give you the opposite point of view. I'm sure each of you at some point in your life took pleasure in some sort of evil. Does that make it actually evil. I might think it was evil, but at the time it might have given you some satisfaction and thus, it wasn't evil to you. Who are we to judge? It's all subjective.

Les Sleeth
Gold Member
RVBUCKEYE said:
What I like to ponder is the point of view of the individual doing the good/evil. If you assume that our reasons for doing good is that it makes us feel better, I'll give you the opposite point of view. I'm sure each of you at some point in your life took pleasure in some sort of evil. Does that make it actually evil. I might think it was evil, but at the time it might have given you some satisfaction and thus, it wasn't evil to you. Who are we to judge? It's all subjective.
I see evil as more about the effects one's actions has on others. If what you do hurts only yourself, then I'd call that foolish (possibly), but not evil.

Let me put this in perspective before I get labeled as "condoning evil". Certainly, I think some peoples actions are evil, but evil could be just a consequence of our free will and not blameable on God. I have been brewing on this one for a while, which is why I chose this topic for my first post--ever. So be patient with me, it's just a hypothesis and is open for discussion. My father is a minister, so I grew up in the faith, but I have a very different opinion of what the nature of God is and our ultimate purpose, and it definately relates to this topic specifically. If God is infallable, then why does he allow such suffering and evil in the world? This seems to be a serious error of judgement. If God is omnipotent, than nothing I will ever do will change my ultimate fate. Why were we given free will? I think these are mainstream beliefs of Western religion. I've been trying to think of how all these things can hold true, especially when talking about good/evil. Here are my thoughts on the subject. Feel free to disagree.
Maybe our purpose on this world is merely to have experiences. Could you imagine life without an experience. Perhaps God created us as a way for him/her/it to have the same experience. (it must be pretty dull being the only thing in existance). Our bodies are clearly sensing machines. It is true that evil acts or thoughts make us feel bad, personally. But without it, we would not know how to feel good.
A further stretch would be to state that maybe, we are all destined for the same fate when we end this life. That fate is to be re-absorbed (for lack of a better word) back into oneness with God, where all the reasons will be made clear to us.
This is the only rationalle I have thought of thusfar to keep those 3 tenets (infallability, omnipotence, and free will) to maintain their truthfulness. Evil is just our way of explaining the alternative to our feeling good. Since God is infallable, evil is good when the context is serving the greater good of human experience. Since we have free will, we can chose evil/good with no real consequence as to where we are going to end up, since God already knows what we are going to chose. Creating a human destined for hell would also contradict what I hold to be Gods' infallability.
Now, I know some, if not all, of these points are debatable so please...what do you think?

RVBUCKEYE said:
Since we have free will, we can chose evil/good with no real consequence as to where we are going to end up, since God already knows what we are going to chose.
You raise many good issues. Here I will comment on one. I hold that since I have free will I can freely (and logically) chose neither heaven nor hell. How ? Did not God allow for so-called "third option(s)" with placement of tree of life in garden ? Did not Adam always have "third" option to live forever on earth if he had eaten from tree of life ? But is it not strange why tree of life is placed in garden if God is all knowing--e.g., why make big deal out of telling Moses about this tree if God knew all along it would never be eaten of ? Are we saying that God was hoping for Adam to eat from the tree of life so that he could be "more" like God and a friend forever, but how is this logical if God is all knowing and already knew he would not ? But, perhaps one would argue that God "willed" not to know what Adam would do--but, the logical problem here is that God then, during the time evolution of the "willing" process, in fact did not know and thus cannot be considered "all" knowing (e.g., one cannot will not to know for some time period yet claim to know all for all time). I find the reason that God does mention tree of life is that God is telling us that God is in fact not all knowing, thus ultimate reality is not 100% predictable, and randomness and unpredictability represent the pure essence of God and thus essence of pure existence (and is this not what QM of physics tells us via HUP ?). In other words, I hold that God did not know that Adam would not eat from tree of live, but, after Adam ate from tree of knowledge,all bets were off. Suppose I chose from free will, like the third option given to Adam with the tree of life, to exist on the earth forever once I reach state called lack of life (=death). I hold that all humans have this option (e.g., to select forever existence on earth as recycled atoms), and that God cannot not allow such a third choice to be freely made, otherwise God is not all good, for an all good God would never deceive man to think that they had free will choice when in fact they did not.

Les Sleeth
Gold Member
RVBUCKEYE said:
Let me put this in perspective before I get labeled as "condoning evil". Certainly, I think some peoples actions are evil, but evil could be just a consequence of our free will and not blameable on God. I have been brewing on this one for a while, which is why I chose this topic for my first post--ever. So be patient with me, it's just a hypothesis and is open for discussion.
I don't think you are condoning evil, and I think your post had some very interesting thoughts. Before commenting on them, I just wanted to clarify that my opening comment to you was to hint that before we talk about evil we have to agree what evil is. More on that below.

RVBUCKEYE said:
My father is a minister, so I grew up in the faith, but I have a very different opinion of what the nature of God is and our ultimate purpose, and it definately relates to this topic specifically. If God is infallable, then why does he allow such suffering and evil in the world? This seems to be a serious error of judgement. If God is omnipotent, than nothing I will ever do will change my ultimate fate. Why were we given free will? I think these are mainstream beliefs of Western religion. I've been trying to think of how all these things can hold true, especially when talking about good/evil. Here are my thoughts on the subject. Feel free to disagree.
I will disagree with some of your assumptions below.

RVBUCKEYE said:
Maybe our purpose on this world is merely to have experiences. Could you imagine life without an experience. Perhaps God created us as a way for him/her/it to have the same experience. (it must be pretty dull being the only thing in existance). Our bodies are clearly sensing machines. It is true that evil acts or thoughts make us feel bad, personally. But without it, we would not know how to feel good.
Well, we are consciousness. The ability to experience and the ability to become "experienced" is what defines consciousness (IMHO). Consequently, in a way you are saying our purpose in this world is to be conscious. If you observe a baby you can see that from day one he/she is learning consciousness skills, and those skills are furthered or impeded by the quality of experiences the child has. So I don't see any way your statement can be wrong.

It is also true that we want to feel good. Personally I believe we want to feel good over and above anything else.

RVBUCKEYE said:
A further stretch would be to state that maybe, we are all destined for the same fate when we end this life. That fate is to be re-absorbed (for lack of a better word) back into oneness with God, where all the reasons will be made clear to us.
It's not such a stretch as you might think. In fact, that concept (with a couple of small adjustments) is the basis of Christian mysticism. Are you familiar with that?

RVBUCKEYE said:
This is the only rationalle I have thought of thusfar to keep those 3 tenets (infallability, omnipotence, and free will) to maintain their truthfulness.
I don't understand the insistence that God be infallable and omnipotent. Considering it from a logic perspective, if there is a consciousness powerful enough to create this universe, this solar system, this planet, life (biology), and a central nervous system capable of housing consciousness, then that is one heck of a creator, perfect or not. That creator doesn't need to be "perfect" to create all that we find here. Maybe he/she/it is doing the best he/she/it is capable of.

Likewise, logically speaking a creator doesn't need to be omnipotent to create this universe; he/she/it only needs to be powerful enough to create a universe (that applies to omniscience too . . . i.e., just knowledgable enough know how to create the universe).

These old concepts are neither indicated logically, nor are they supported by any known evidence. IMO, they are merely assumptions made dogma by past popes and fed to the masses. I don't see why we need to attach those concept to God. All they do is raise doubt and drive some of the faithful crazy because they really don't make much sense.

RVBUCKEYE said:
Evil is just our way of explaining the alternative to our feeling good. Since God is infallable, evil is good when the context is serving the greater good of human experience. Since we have free will, we can chose evil/good with no real consequence as to where we are going to end up, since God already knows what we are going to chose.
Well here is where I want to decide what evil is. Personally I limit evil to intentionally harming others. So if I want to drink myself to death, and only I am harmed, then it might be foolish (or whatever) but not evil.

But if we include evil among the many things we can do that feel bad, then I think your theory is pretty good (if I've understood it correctly). To a reasonably healthy consciousness (and we need that "healthy" qualifier), experience teaches us to pursue "good" (quite Aristolean, eh?) because good stuff is what feels the best. So experience teaches us.

One source where I see of a lot of evil may agree with your assessment, and that is when we pursue things which we believe will make us feel good, but which really don't. Some of those pursuits seem to encourage us to behave selfishly without regard for others, or even to harm others so we can get what we want. Sometime a consciousness doing that doesn't learn in time to keep from self destructing and hurting a lot of people in the process.

Les Sleeth said:
In fact, that concept (with a couple of small adjustments) is the basis of Christian mysticism. Are you familiar with that?
Depends on what you call Christian Mysticism. I've never heard of that phrase before. I think I'm familiar with the core beliefs of some of the mainstream religions (ie, christianity, judaism, mormons, christian science), but I've done little research into the subject. Really, it's been only the data which supported my life's work of disproving the existance of God. It's been a rather recent endevor of mine to accept that there is a God, and try to explain his nature.

I don't understand the insistence that God be infallable and omnipotent. Considering it from a logic perspective, if there is a consciousness powerful enough to create this universe, this solar system, this planet, life (biology), and a central nervous system capable of housing consciousness, then that is one heck of a creator, perfect or not. That creator doesn't need to be "perfect" to create all that we find here. Maybe he/she/it is doing the best he/she/it is capable of.
Likewise, logically speaking a creator doesn't need to be omnipotent to create this universe; he/she/it only needs to be powerful enough to create a universe (that applies to omniscience too . . . i.e., just knowledgable enough know how to create the universe).
These old concepts are neither indicated logically, nor are they supported by any known evidence. IMO, they are merely assumptions made dogma by past popes and fed to the masses. I don't see why we need to attach those concept to God. All they do is raise doubt and drive some of the faithful crazy because they really don't make much sense.
I absolutely agree with you. I've long thought religion to be an "opiate for the masses" as well. Nothing irks me more as when I see brilliant people being seemingly duped by these unfounded concepts. What I am trying to contemplate is how they all might fit together harmoniously. Just assuming those 3 basic tenets to be true. Like i said, thats the only thing I have been able to come up with thusfar. Perhaps it might be worththy of a new topic- "the nature of God"

Well here is where I want to decide what evil is. Personally I limit evil to intentionally harming others. So if I want to drink myself to death, and only I am harmed, then it might be foolish (or whatever) but not evil.
But if we include evil among the many things we can do that feel bad, then I think your theory is pretty good (if I've understood it correctly). To a reasonably healthy consciousness (and we need that "healthy" qualifier), experience teaches us to pursue "good" (quite Aristolean, eh?) because good stuff is what feels the best. So experience teaches us.
One source where I see of a lot of evil may agree with your assessment, and that is when we pursue things which we believe will make us feel good, but which really don't. Some of those pursuits seem to encourage us to behave selfishly without regard for others, or even to harm others so we can get what we want. Sometime a consciousness doing that doesn't learn in time to keep from self destructing and hurting a lot of people in the process.
Limiting evil to intentionally harming others is interesting, and since I maintain that it is subjective, I can't logically disagree with you. I will throw this out there though. Was it evil, then, for Moses to kill a Egyptian guard, before the exodus out of egypt? Apparently it was a necessary act in order for the exodus to have happened. I don't think God held it against him. That wasn't the reason they spent 40 years in the desert. (I know, maybe a bad example, as I don't think there is any other source for Moses' existance than the Bible, historically speaking.) Some would say it was justifiable homicide (not evil). The family of the guard would think it was murder (evil). I think our concepts of evil is just the tagword we associate with the extreme of negative thoughts and actions. But again is there really evil?

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Les Sleeth
Gold Member
RVBUCKEYE said:
Depends on what you call Christian Mysticism. I've never heard of that phrase before.
Google Christian mysticism, interesing stuff. A famous book called "Mysticism" was written at the turn of the last century by Evelyn Underhill. More recently Jacob Needleman wrote a book called "Lost Christianity." Those and many other works describe how some Christians (monastics mostly) pursued knowledge of God through an inner practice.

RVBUCKEYE said:
Limiting evil to intentionally harming others is interesting, and since I maintain that it is subjective, I can't logically disagree with you. I will throw this out there though. Was it evil, then, for Moses to kill a Roman guard, before the exodus out of egypt?
I should have been more clear. I meant to say harm done to innocents for self-serving purposes (or something like that). I usually don't get involved in the minutia of trying to figure out where every act falls on the good-evil scale; but for instance, if we don't kill a terrorist about to explode a bomb, lots of people will die. But then, if the terrorist believed he was serving God, is his act evil? I usually factor in intent, so I might see his actions as deluded, but not really evil.

Some have argued that evil doesn't really exist, just ignorance. I can agree with that too. Each is a way of looking at behavior and intent. I probably see it more along the ignorance line myself.

Amp1
LaPalida:

1. Where in the Bible does it say that God loves "all equally" exactly? There is a claim to impartiality, that's about it.

Well first, I'm not exactly holding strictly to the Bible as my only source; however, it is one. When 'God' says it/he/she is '...no respector of persons' then I take that to mean no favoritism.

2. God does play favourites. The entire Old Testament is a proof for that. Jews are the God's chosen people. Cain and Abel?...

Singled out to be representative from any other group does not automatically imply favoritism. One can also look at them as the control group in an experiment - observe what happens if you follow my guidelines that I told you would be to your benefit. As opposed to look at those who don't. Even peoples who were not Jews, that followed the guidelines benefited.

3. Precisely what I am talking about. This is coersive thinking. God of the Bible is a not a gentle/good God but a jealous and insecure God that needs to be worshipped all the time.

Not having ever existed one could not be punished, IOW, you never miss or suffer for what you never had, I maitain that there is no cruelty in that nor coercion. This applies to your forth point, it's a consequence that stops the infection in the past so that future generations are not spoiled.