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Is it difficult to believe in a God that is perfectly good?

 
 
Reply Sat 4 Jul, 2009 06:29 pm
It is difficult to believe in a God that is perfectly good, in the bible God and the devil are having a discussion on faith.
God mentions a man named Job and states the fact that Job will be eternally faithful to God. Job has a great family lots of money and land and good health. Satan says that Job is only faithful because of these blessings. So, to prove a point, one by one God removes the joys in Job's life and he is still faithful.
Why would God ruin someones life to prove a point to the devil if he was perfectly good?
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ValueRanger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 08:29 pm
@Imnotrussian,
Consistency.

Life is an amazing story of give and take. Your very own body is a stunning achievement of The Golden Rule, as each organ, with every molecule, in constant value exchange.

Is God value exchange, and how much choice does Man have, as we evolve more and more? How Godly are we in sustainable value exchange, and the ethical control of power?

And like a child becoming a greater parent, are you becoming a greater God?
0 Replies
 
deepthot
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 01:17 am
@Imnotrussian,
Imnotrussian;74850 wrote:
It is difficult to believe in a God that is perfectly good, ...


What you showed in your post is that it is difficult to believe in the God of the Bible.

In contrast, if you start to believe in the God described in the last four paragraphs of this thread:
http://www.philosophyforum.com/forum/philosophy-forums/branches-philosophy/philosophy-religion/4745-religion-its-stages-evolution.html
then it is quite easy to develop a relation of worship and adoration. For this God is Goodness itself. If you aim to merge with Goodness, you can't go wrong, theologically or ethically.
New Mysterianism
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 04:59 pm
@deepthot,
ImnotRussian:

I don't think that the classical monotheistic conception of God--as an omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly morally good being--is compatible with a world in which gratuitous evils exist.

By gratuitous evils I mean those events which are not caused by the deliberate actions of moral agents (e.g., natural disasters) and which cannot be countervailed by some greater compensatory good. In others words, natural evils are justified if and only if God has some morally sufficient reason for allowing natural evils, and "a morally sufficient reason" would be a case in which a natural evil resulted in some greater compensatory good. Conversely, a natural evil which was not countervailed by some greater compensatory good would lack a morally sufficient reason and be gratuitous. And if an evil is gratuitous, serving no good whatsoever, it is inconsistent with God's allegedly perfect moral goodness.

So, is every occurence of natural evil in the world (events not caused by the deliberate actions of moral agents) sufficiently countervailed by some greater compensatory good? Remember that in order for God's perfect moral goodness to be compatible with the existence of natural evils, each natural evil must necessarily be accompanied by some morally sufficient reason the motivation for which is the promotion of some greater compensatory good. For if just one natural evil cannot be assessed as such, it is gratuitous, and therefore inconsistent with God's perfect moral goodness.

So let's say a drought causes a famine in some region of the world, leaving a large population to starve from a lack of drinking water. The theist might argue that this event induces others to feel compassion for the drought victims, who then organize a humanitarian program to relieve their suffering. So, the theist defending God's perfect moral goodness could argue that the evils wrought by the drought are countervailed by the greater compensatory good that resulted: organized compassion and humanitarianism. But are organized compassion and humanitarian aid morally sufficient reasons when attempting to reconcile God's perfect moral goodness with the existence of famine-inducing droughts?

Maybe, and maybe not. But it gets worse, because it is a fact that not every occurence of natural evil is countervailed by some greater compensatory good. Indeed, some natural evils result in no goods, greater or lesser, whatsoever. Consider:

a man is walking in the woods at night when it begins to storm. He runs towards his cabin to seek shelter when a lightning bolt strikes a tree and sends it crashing down on the man. The man survives the impact, but he is stuck because the tree is too heavy for him to lift. No one is around for miles, and over the course of several days the man experiences unbearable suffering before finally expiring from starvation. I am not recounting a 'true story,' of course, but such events do happen. Now, can we reconcile such an event with God's perfect moral goodness? In other words, can we come up with some morally sufficient reason that would justify this occurence? Personally, it is hard to imagine how this event could be countervailed by some greater compensatory good, since no human was around to be induced into compassion and provide aid. Therefore, this man's suffering was gratuitous, and inconsistent with the claim that God is perfectly morally good.

So, to sum up:

P1: God is perfectly morally good (assumed).
P2: Natural evils (events which are not caused by the deliberate actions of moral agents) exist in abundance.
P3: Natural evils are justified if and only if it can be determined that God has morally sufficient reasons for allowing them, the motivation for which is the promotion of some greater compensatory goods.
P4: Natural evils are gratuitous and unjust if and only if it can be determined that they lack morally sufficient reasons by their not promoting some greater compensatory goods.
P5: Cases of gratuitous evils exist.
P6: Gratuitous evils are incompatible with God's perfect moral goodness.
C: Therefore, God is not perfectly morally good.
deepthot
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Jul, 2009 12:59 am
@New Mysterianism,
New Mysterianism;75469 wrote:
I

...So, to sum up:

P1: God is perfectly morally good (assumed).
P2: Natural evils (events which are not caused by the deliberate actions of moral agents) exist in abundance.
P3: Natural evils are justified if and only if it can be determined that God has morally sufficient reasons for allowing them, the motivation for which is the promotion of some greater compensatory goods.
P4: Natural evils are gratuitous and unjust if and only if it can be determined that they lack morally sufficient reasons by their not promoting some greater compensatory goods.
P5: Cases of gratuitous evils exist.
P6: Gratuitous evils are incompatible with God's perfect moral goodness.
C: Therefore, God is not perfectly morally good.


In P3 you are assuming that God, in the first place, KNOWS about evils, and that God is ALL-POWERFUL so that God can allow them, or not allow them.

If in contrast we hold to a God that is ALL-GOOD but not all-knowing, and not omnipotent, then your conclusion does not follow. And that is precisely the kind of God I believe in: Goodnes is powerful enough - when it is organized and mobilized ....but it's not all-powerful. And my God knows nothing of evil. Evil is a human concept, and I will grant that human nature is a subset of Nature.

I define evil as: the downgrading of a person by a system, or a thing, or a person (i.e., by another Intrinsic Value.)

My God is the Love of all loves, the Friend of friends, the Beauty of beauties; the Harmony of harmonies of harmonies; etc. God is energy, plus negentropy, plus information, plus the highest of all high values rolled into One. And I can communicate, and commune, with my God. And God comes to me as Health, as Prosperity, as Protecter. God solves every one of my problems. God is my great comforter. And of one thing I am very, very sure: God loves me. God can't help doing that, for God is Love.

Yes, as I recently discovered Shinto teaches, challenges come into us every day, it seems. But if we can rise above them, taking them with equanimity and with faith, we have passed the test. So don't let these challenges, like a sunami, or a hurricane, get you down. Just be careful where and how you build your home -- so that you are not deliberately in the path of volcano lava, or tornado-alley, etc. Use some good judgment.
New Mysterianism
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Jul, 2009 02:09 am
@deepthot,
Well of course my conclusion doesn't follow if my argument addresses your conception of God, but it doesn't. The OP had in the mind the attributes of a biblical Abrahamic deity, who is described as all-powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly morally good, so that's the conception of God my argument addressed.

At any rate, if your God is responsible for the creation of this world, He is also responsible for its boundary conditions. "Using good judgment" is a rather facile and insensitive solution for avoiding natural disasters when most of its victims, the poor and destitute, simply lack the means to uproot themselves and relocate to safer environments. The planet your God created is largely uninhabitable, and its natural resources are grossly misdistributed, which engenders conflict. That said, I can't imagine how you could go about reconciling your "God of love" with a newborn who suffers interminable pain for the first week of its life before finally succumbing to intestinal blockage. This is hardly something that "good judgment" could have mitigated.

I have to commend you, however. You've managed to describe the nature of your God so ambiguously so as to preclude anyone from even beginning to subject it to rational analysis. You've clearly taken this tactic and made it into an art-form. Theology never loses its charm.

Quote:

And my God knows nothing of evil. Evil is a human concept, and I will grant that human nature is a subset of Nature.



"Goodness" is also a human concept, so it's kind of nonsensical to claim that God can have knowledge of one human concept (good) but be wholly ignorant of the other (evil). Knowledge of the good presupposes the capacity to distinguish between good and evil actions.
dawoel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Jul, 2009 03:17 am
@Imnotrussian,
Why would god care what the devil thinks? What ever happened to turn the other cheek?
0 Replies
 
ValueRanger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Jul, 2009 08:03 am
@New Mysterianism,
New Mysterianism;75537 wrote:
means to uproot

Kuhn has interesting math in paradigm shifts needed to equitably distribute species shifting power.

Topologically mapping out the evolutionary sets in accord with tool advance, is an enlightening proposition.

It is when a key percentage of a species gaining an opposing percentage of tech/tools, that a potential split/shift is in the making.

Greater God, indeed.
0 Replies
 
Imnotrussian
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 05:41 pm
@New Mysterianism,
New Mysterianism;75469 wrote:


P1: God is perfectly morally good (assumed).
P2: Natural evils (events which are not caused by the deliberate actions of moral agents) exist in abundance.
P3: Natural evils are justified if and only if it can be determined that God has morally sufficient reasons for allowing them, the motivation for which is the promotion of some greater compensatory goods.
P4: Natural evils are gratuitous and unjust if and only if it can be determined that they lack morally sufficient reasons by their not promoting some greater compensatory goods.
P5: Cases of gratuitous evils exist.
P6: Gratuitous evils are incompatible with God's perfect moral goodness.
C: Therefore, God is not perfectly morally good.



Excellent answer, i emailed it to my old philosophy tutor, she questioned her religion after my previous essay which i kinda feel bad about, i was referring to the biblical entity but this has started to spiral on a level beyond my abilities!:surrender:

I will try and keep up though.

How can God expect us to follow a strong system of universally acceptable morals when He has shown wrath, pointless destruction, natural imbalances etc For example, disease, volcanic erptions and earthquakes, or the destruction of sodom and gommorah. Why would a perfectly good God obliterate two cities to make an example, assuming that the bible has facts in the existence of God (this is putting aside my personal beliefs on the subject).

God shows (conveiniently) Human characteristics, maybe because the only accounts of God were written by man, Being all knowing he still created the forbidden fruit, so adam and eve could eat it, knowing that the snake would tempt them into eating said fruit. This shows his willingness to abandon them, his willingness to trust them and his stupidity.
New Mysterianism
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 06:08 pm
@Imnotrussian,
Quote:
Excellent answer, i emailed it to my old philosophy tutor, she questioned her religion after my previous essay which i kinda feel bad about, i was referring to the biblical entity but this has started to spiral on a level beyond my abilities!:surrender:


Cool. I'm interested to know what her email reaction will be.
0 Replies
 
Imnotrussian
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 06:10 pm
@Imnotrussian,
so far she's a bit drunk apparently, but she'll get back to me asap and ill let u know
0 Replies
 
JEROME phil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 08:02 pm
@deepthot,
deepthot;75253 wrote:
What you showed in your post is that it is difficult to believe in the God of the Bible.

In contrast, if you start to believe in the God described in the last four paragraphs of this thread:
http://www.philosophyforum.com/forum/philosophy-forums/branches-philosophy/philosophy-religion/4745-religion-its-stages-evolution.html
then it is quite easy to develop a relation of worship and adoration. For this God is Goodness itself. If you aim to merge with Goodness, you can't go wrong, theologically or ethically.


Is there any objective basis for this your belief, or is this god merely a fabrication of your own theological ego?

JEROME
0 Replies
 
Imnotrussian
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 08:40 am
@Imnotrussian,
Well lets not make it personal...
Neil D
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 10:09 am
@Imnotrussian,
Well, assuming our consciousness in not a product of emergence, and that it is not created out of nothing. I would propose that it comes from god. One of my theories is that every living thing that has a consciousness, is a factor of god, although god may indeed be more than the sum total of all the souls in existence.

Just as god divided his energy for creation(the big bang), from a superforce to the four fundamentals. I believe there was also another division, that allows each one of us to have an individual consciousness.

Given this theory, and since we know how much evil exists in the world, then it is impossible for god to be perfectly good.

When you say "good", I realize that its polar opposite is "bad"(evil), and i realize all the subtle differences within this spectrum, that if they didnt exist...the concept of "good" would be static, and meaningless.

The negative parts of creation(within reason), when complimented with the positive, yields the dynamics of creation(of a sort), and to me, im almost inclided to say it is not perfectly good, but it is perfect.

Neil
0 Replies
 
deepthot
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 01:34 pm
@New Mysterianism,
New Mysterianism;75537 wrote:
...The OP had in the mind the attributes of a biblical Abrahamic deity, who is described as all-powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly morally good, so that's the conception of God my argument addressed.

At any rate, if your God is responsible for the creation of this world, He is also responsible for its boundary conditions. "Using good judgment" is a rather facile and insensitive solution for avoiding natural disasters when most of its victims, the poor and destitute, simply lack the means to uproot themselves and relocate to safer environments. The planet your God created is largely uninhabitable, and its natural resources are grossly misdistributed, which engenders conflict. That said, I can't imagine how you could go about reconciling your "God of love" with a newborn who suffers interminable pain for the first week of its life before finally succumbing to intestinal blockage. This is hardly something that "good judgment" could have mitigated. ... Theology never loses its charm.

"Goodness" is also a human concept, so it's kind of nonsensical to claim that God can have knowledge of one human concept (good) but be wholly ignorant of the other (evil). Knowledge of the good presupposes the capacity to distinguish between good and evil actions.


Greetings, New Mysterianism

I agree with everything you've said here with the possible exception of the last sentence, which affirms Duality -- of this I am not quite sure. I tend to be more of a pluralist, being aware of many and varied perspectives on any given topic. ...yet finding some to be better (for us) than others.

You claim that "Goodness" is a human concept, and you imply by this that it is solely a human concept. How do you know for sure that it is not a concept built into the entire Cosmos? What if it was a Divine Concept? What if it is just another word for "God." Then why would God need to be cognizant of occurrences of human evil? Can you demonstrate logically that an Omnibenevolent Being must also be Omniscient? If God is not all-knowing then evil may be just one of the many events that God has no time for, and pushes out of consciousness -- assuming God has such.

Yes, I can prove (within my theology) that God is the Creator of all creativity. In fact, God IS the Creativity principle. If anything is (or was, or will be) created, then God should get the credit for it !!!

However, I am confident that the tragedies that befall human beings (such as the gross mal-distribution of the basics for living of which you truthfully speak) are the doings of humans, not God. We are the ones who commit these crimes! [I make a distinction between creating something worthwhile; and commiting a crime or an evil.] If parents are informed by their obstetrician that a mother is about to give birth to a severely-deformed child, or one lacking - or having a defect in - a vital organ, such as the intestine, and they go ahead with the birth anyway, instead of taking the safe drug Mifeprex then it is the mother and her counselors who are less-than-praiseworthy for enabling the suffering of that baby in your illustration. The "morning-after" drug has great utility, just for that reason alone. It should be made freely available for all pregnant women who know or suspect that they cannot provide a good support system for a child they might bring into this world. It is a tremendous responsibility

to give birth to another child in this over-crowded planet, this spaceship we call Earth.
Every child deserves a loving atmosphere in the home and financial backing in order to best flourish.
Yes, my God is a God of Love.



---------- Post added 07-11-2009 at 03:06 PM ----------

JEROME;76521 wrote:
Is there any objective basis for this your belief, or is this god merely a fabrication of your own theological ego?

JEROME


It is okay to get personal...... as long as it is constructive and done with the utmost respect.

The objective basis
is how well this belief works in my life to make life a joy for me. It does. And that is a fact. There is no reason I can think of why it ought not be recommended to others as it may do the same for them as it has for me, namely, give them serenity, peace and joy, comfort, protection, healing, uplift, etc. I am in awe at the tremendous stream of miracles that I behold every day - what others might regard as 'natural events.' To me they are wonderful !

Of course it may be all a fabrication;my own vivid imagination. Only in this case it is a creative Force. It is both within and outside of me, at once. If when I pray, and express thanksgiving, I am communicating with my own ego, so be it. All I can say is: It works (wonderfully) for me. [My wife shares in the same "delusion." And maybe a few myriad of others, as well. We could all be kidding ourselves. Howevr I believe that those who do not share in relating to, and admiring, this God are losing out on something really great they otherwise could have!]
New Mysterianism
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 05:48 pm
@deepthot,
Deepthot:

If you aren't defending the claim that the traditional monotheistic God--who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly morally good--is consistent with the existence of evils both moral and natural, then clearly you and I have nothing to discuss that is relevant to the OP.

That said, you've been at some pains to draw attention away from the OP and redirect attention towards your conception of the divine, which seems to be motivated more by a personal ontological exercise than genuine religious convictions. At any rate, let's keep our focus on the God as stated in the OP, and keep the irrelevance of your God in its corresponding thread (I believe you've already provided the link on the previous page).
Neil D
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jul, 2009 11:24 am
@New Mysterianism,
If god is an all-knowing being as so many believe, than he would have well known of all the evils that would result from his creation. But not only did he know, he designed it that way. Why? because it is perfect! Im so tired of hearing about a loving god, a caring god, blah, blah. If it helps you to sleep better at night thinking there is a loving god who actually cares about you as an individual, than you are delusional. There is no evidence whatsoever that god has ever done a single thing that demonstrates love or caring. God is NOT a human being, but people are always wanting to pin human characteristics on him(it).

What god DID do for us is to give us a soul, as he did for other beings aside from humans, this may be limited to sentient beings, i dont know for sure. He gave us a volitional agency with no boundaries, so each person can experience his creation as they see fit. It makes NO difference to god what you do, since he didnt impose any restrictions...its all about individual experience people. Good or bad is irrelevant.

If i make a gun, knowing in advance it will cause death, can i still be a perfectly good person? I think not.

I dont know what else to say at the moment. Its been fun.

Neil
0 Replies
 
JEROME phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jul, 2009 07:41 pm
@deepthot,
Deepthot wrote:

Quote:
It is okay to get personal...... as long as it is constructive and done with the utmost respect.

The objective basis
is how well this belief works in my life to make life a joy for me. It does. And that is a fact. There is no reason I can think of why it ought not be recommended to others as it may do the same for them as it has for me, namely, give them serenity, peace and joy, comfort, protection, healing, uplift, etc. I am in awe at the tremendous stream of miracles that I behold every day - what others might regard as 'natural events.' To me they are wonderful !

Of course it may be all a fabrication;my own vivid imagination. Only in this case it is a creative Force. It is both within and outside of me, at once. If when I pray, and express thanksgiving, I am communicating with my own ego, so be it. All I can say is: It works (wonderfully) for me. [My wife shares in the same "delusion." And maybe a few myriad of others, as well. We could all be kidding ourselves. Howevr I believe that those who do not share in relating to, and admiring, this God are losing out on something really great they otherwise could have!]


So....your objective basis is your subjective "joy", "awe", "serenity", "peace", "comfort", etc...? :listening:

And if I may pry again, if this god of yours is only glorious and valuable to you in proportion to its positive affect upon your own particular emotional experience, you being even willing to denounce it as a possible (probable?) fraud, fantasy, or delusion, it seems the only god you are left to worship is that figure which stares back at you in the mirror; yea, a most pitiful deity indeed.

JEROME
Paggos
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jul, 2009 04:47 pm
@Imnotrussian,
God is perfect, therefore he is purely good as they say. But, God punishes people for doing wrong, since he is perfect, that aspect would be doing evil for good which in my opinion don't go well together. You can't say he's neutral because you'd be breaking the whole purpose of him being perfect. He created perfection, therefore he is above evil, and above good, he is neither or to be honest.
Neil D
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jul, 2009 06:01 pm
@Paggos,
Paggos;77086 wrote:

God is perfect, therefore he is purely good as they say.


I don't see any connection here, and you've gone right from the proposition to the conclusion without any argument.

I would either see god as being good and evil, or being neither.

I see evil existing in gods work, this doesnt necessarily mean god is evil, but that evil is required in order for us to have freedom of will, and perhaps so admirable attributes such as heroism may exist.

Neil
0 Replies
 
 

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