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Theists, How well can you defend your beilief that God exists?

 
 
Reply Wed 30 May, 2012 12:54 pm
Importantly, keep in mind, I'm not trying to convert anyone. Think of this as just a mental exercise.

As Plato once said, an unexamined life is not worth living.

The argument will be somewhat brief due to my lack of time when writing it.

Please I'd prefer that you don't change the subject and give me another argument that shows that God exists, just stay on this argument and see how well you can analyze the logic of the argument, and give me feedback as to what you think.

The Argument from Evil:
1. God is omniscient (all-knowing).
2. God is omnipotent (all-powerful).
3. God is omnibenevolent (all-good/morally perfect).
4. God created everything.
5. If God created everything, then everything should be good.
6. Not everything is good, as there is unnecessary suffering (not good) in the world.
7. For example, fawns suffering for days in a forest then dying, with no one present to witness it—not good.
8. So, either God did not create everything, or God is not all-good, or lacks one or both of the other omnis, as such omnis imply God would know of the suffering, be able to stop it, and be willing to stop it.
9. But if God did not create everything, then we have contradicted premise 4, and we are speaking of something less than God.
10. If God did create everything, then we must deny one or more of the omnis, or deny the existence of any god/creator whatsoever.
11. Therefore, there is no all-omnis God.


Since premises 6 and 7 are likely the most controversial, and the most integral to the argument as a whole, those are the premises that need to be further clarified and supported. The essay below attempts to do that, borrowing from the philosopher of religion, William Rowe.

Explanation:
Premises 6 and 7 can be supported by the following. If one takes a brief look at the world we live in, one can immediately notice that there are bad things happening to good people and non-human animals that do not seem to be necessary. That is, the suffering that results, whether from a presumably free act of a human or a natural disaster does not appear to serve any purpose whatsoever. In other words, while there might be “useful” suffering such as the pain accompanying the stubbing of one’s toe, such instances are in no way analogous to holocausts, disease-ridden infants, or the horrible suffering of non-human creatures both before and during human existence. Consider the following scenario from philosopher of religion William Rowe: "Suppose in some distant forest lightning strikes a dead tree, resulting in a forest fire. In the fire a fawn is trapped, horribly burned, and lies in terrible agony for several days before death relieves its suffering. So far as we can see, the fawn's intense suffering is pointless. For there does not appear to be any greater good such that the prevention of the fawn's suffering would require either the loss of that good or the occurrence of an evil equally bad or worse” ( Rowe, William. “The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism,” American Philosophical Quarterly, 16: (1979). 335-41.). (This quotation is about as long as I would want to use for a short assignment—please note, no sources are required for this paper.) The lightning which struck the dead tree, a natural occurrence, is often referred to as "an act of God," whether rightly or wrongly, and so had nothing to do with the fawn's free will (if a fawn has free will). It also does not appear, from the text, that this fawn was particularly bad nor especially good. Why then does the fawn suffer?
Since the fawn dies, it cannot be that this was meant to teach a lesson and since the fawn does not appear to be a bad fawn it would not seem this is a punishment. Nor is it the case, according to the text, that some greater good will come of the fawn's suffering nor some greater evil be prevented. The suffering of the fawn seems completely meaningless. Rowe continues, saying, "Since the fawn's intense suffering was preventable and, so far as we can see, pointless, doesn't it appear that...there do exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse" (338). So, such an "omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient being" does not exist, or else it would have relieved the suffering of the fawn or prevented it entirely.

Possible rebuttal:
How are we to say the suffering is unnecessary? If God is all the omnis, and eternal and responsible for the creation of everything, then surely there are things He knows that finite, mortal, and relatively ignorant humans do not and perhaps cannot. Therefore, it does not necessarily follow that because we very limited humans cannot see the purpose, reason, or even necessity of the fawn’s suffering, that there must be none. In fact, it appears to be a version of the arguing from ignorance fallacy in that one is asking something like: “prove to us there is a purpose to the suffering of the fawn, and if you cannot, that lack of evidence stands as positive evidence for there being no reason at all for said suffering.

Possible rebuttal of the rebuttal:
If the burden of proof rests with those arguing against an all-omnis God, and it is not obvious that this should be so, then one need only point to analogous cases of humans who know of suffering, are capable of stopping it, and, if at all decent, are willing to stop it. That is, we should appeal to moral arguments that make sense on human terms, as those are the only terms available to us, barring exceptional cases of direct religious/mystical experience with the divine—experiences notoriously easy to fabricate and nearly impossible to falsify. Theists often appeal to the God-as-parent-analogy. I will follow suit here. There are no circumstances in which a parent would not be considered negligent in the extreme, and in fact, a moral reprobate, if the parent allowed her child to consume an Ebola virus (made by the parent?), be eaten by a carnivorous animal (made by the parent?), or be struck by lightning (made by the parent?) only to suffer horribly for days and then die. It is not just that we are ignorant of the possible necessity of the suffering allowed above, but that it is inconceivable that an all-good being would have to allow such unutterable suffering for any presumed greater good. In other words, we would have to be truly hard-core utilitarians who advance the notion that the ends justifies the means, in this case, holocausts, tsunamis, and diseased children, are the necessary means toward some greater, yet, admittedly, wholly unknown good. In almost all other arguments espoused by theists, such utilitarian calculus is viewed as abhorrent, and no sufficient reason has been offered to deny the abhorrence in the case of unnecessary suffering described above.










 
Val Killmore
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2012 12:57 pm
@Val Killmore,
Sorry, in my question, I should have specified monotheists.
As in:
Monotheists, How well can you defend your beilief that God exists?
Fil Albuquerque
 
  0  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2012 01:27 pm
@Val Killmore,
First I don't believe God created the world but rather that God is the world and as such powerless once not created but timelessly true, which in turn means defined accomplished done in a circle where all time and space are complete ! Second of all, the argument that there are not just good things happening in the world is in fact an argument from ignorance once we are not the entire system to make a judgement on how it actually works and what it needs to work as a machine...renewal requires destruction and disorder, and work > (reorganizing from chaos to order) and effort provide value to stuff...one thing is certain though, the most value the more the risk there must be...if all is at risk all is precious, be it civilization the entire species or the life of a child which is fragile and needs caring...no fault in reality indeed !
Val Killmore
 
  0  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2012 02:13 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,

Very choppy, it took me a while to understand what your actual thoughts are.

I really don't see how this argument is an argument from ignorance.

I think, and hopefully covered the ignorance fallacy claim in my possible rebuttal, and my possible rebuttal of the rebuttal.

Whew, you scared me there a bit, cause the prof. won't be happy with silly fallacies by a TA, and if the TA does not gives a good example of a coherent argument for an assignment.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2012 02:28 pm
@Val Killmore,
The thing about "good" and "bad" is that they are difficult concepts to say the least, very obscure...and yet here they are necessary premisses...either the world is good or bad or both which informatively is the same...no third option is presented...as I see it that's where trouble begins.

If I were to formally work with your argument (which I am not) I would opt to defend that the World is good nonetheless...or that badness is a necessary part for good in general in order for value to exist...what in fact is good is VALUE and value requires discrepancy or fluctuation...if we further the argument to its last final instance we would more realistically had to ask why in the beginning of the big bang there where temperature fluctuations in some tiny spots ? why was it that the entire thing was not perfectly homogeneous ? Well without such discrepancy's the fact is all this diversity would have never come to exist and all we would have in turn would be radiation and pure energy...a dead Universe ! Motion itself requires some imbalance going on...conflict is what makes the Universe an interesting place !
Val Killmore
 
  0  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2012 02:59 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Quote:
conflict is what makes the Universe an interesting place !


Not necessarily, and here is my two cents.

Who said you need evil to have fun? I certainly have a fun with being good and so do millions of other people. Evil is not a requirement for happiness, not evil needed to make some kind of contrast to know what is good.

Ordinary every day problems certainly keep me on my feet every day. Evil, certainly, keeps me on my feet every day, but it is not a requirement to keep the universe interesting.

There are millions of different things that keeps us interested without the need for evil, like science.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2012 03:06 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
(a Quick informal scheme)
Necessary Conflicts :

Matter / Dark Matter
Gravity (Conflict of masses)
Nuclear Fusion ("Darwinism" between elements in stars and super stars cores)
Electromagnetism gain and loss of electrons...
Bio-Planets (Conflict of Bio ecosystems and Civilizations)
Species differentiation (Conflict of Bio-strategies with progressive levels of organization and computing power)
"Races" and Country's (Conflict between Bio-Geo-adaptation processes)
Groups and Gangs (Conflict between Cultural patterns and norms)
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2012 03:11 pm
@Val Killmore,
You are way wrong and far from getting my point...
Imagine you could not die for instance nor matter what you do you could not die...imagine you would not be able to feel hungry to lack sustenance...imagine you would not need to breath or to lack air or water...now go further...imagine you would not need to run or walk, imagine you could teleport...imagine you would not wonder or question that you were not ignorant you would not need a mind...well the more perfect, the more simple also the least interesting...
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2012 03:37 pm
uggggg.....

Another thread!
R
T
Frank Apisa
 
  5  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2012 03:48 pm
@failures art,
You really ought to figure out why you go to threads that you don't like!

You do realize what the "off" function for a television set is for, do you not?

Just stay away!
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2012 09:36 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
The following video is a bit sidetracking but nonetheless useful, enjoy !

0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  2  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2012 09:57 pm
@Val Killmore,
I don't feel the need to defend my belief in God.

I don't know why anyone bothers to.

I also don't know why anyone feels compelled to defend their belief that God doesn't exist.

I'm not expecting that any day now the definitive proof that God exists or doesn't exist is going to hit the headlines of my morning paper.

Fil Albuquerque
 
  2  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2012 10:08 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
...you see they all like telling stories, the Good versus Evil kind of story's, and the awkward part is both groups are doing it be in the name of science and progress be it in the name of religion...often militant atheists are no different from theists unfortunately...very few will actually reason the argument on the base of absence of belief but rather on I believe it does or I believe it does not...as I have always said I couldn't care less...and such that I don't mind or get pissed on using the coinage "god" to address a sense of Wholeness that we all have...some find it in mathematics others in nature's beauty and many opt for a fatherly figure watching over them...a matter of IQ but funny thing they all refer to the same need...
Val Killmore
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 May, 2012 07:06 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Sorry for the late reply, I have been busy.

With all the talk about matter and dark matter (which to a large extent unknown), and etc.
It's not clear, but are you getting to the point that natural evils is justified because the existence of natural evils is entailed by natural laws, and a world without natural laws would be a much worse world?

Then it is possible to argue by someone that many evils depend upon precisely what laws the world contains. An omnipotent being could, for example, easily create a world with the same laws of physics as the world we live in, but with slightly different laws linking neurophysiological states with qualities of experiences, so that extremely intense pains could not arise, or alternatively, could be turned off when they served no purpose. Or additional physical laws of a rather specialized sort could be introduced that would cause very harmful pathogens to self-destruct.
And then it is possible to conclude, that such justification that you suggested is not satisfactory to provide a justification for God allowing moral evil.

Val Killmore
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 May, 2012 07:14 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Well, I always question my belief from time to time, by committing to thought experiments.

None of us can argue on the basis of what we do not know, and no one's argument on anything is safe from new discoveries in the future. All of us must be prepared to reexamine evidence from time to time to get a better or sometimes the lesser understanding, from the evidence accrued, over the course of our lives.

For example, providing evidence does not eliminate faith in something, it just makes the blind leap of faith to an intelligent leap of faith.
0 Replies
 
thack45
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 May, 2012 07:38 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:

I'm not expecting that any day now the definitive proof that God exists or doesn't exist is going to hit the headlines of my morning paper.



And should that day ever come, god help us all (pardon the expression).
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 May, 2012 08:06 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Whether theist or atheist I consider any argument that involves a child's perception of what God must be to be...well, childish.

Unfortunately so many are.

"God never burdens you with more than you can bear."

Suicide statistics would suggest otherwise.

"God would never permit a fawn to die in the woods alone and in pain."

God is not Walt Disney.

God is The Creator, not The Engineer.

Anyone who has created relishes the sense of their creation living outside of them.

God, by nature, can do anything, and he certainly is not bound by what we can do or even imagine.

Val Killmore
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 May, 2012 08:29 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Quote:
Anyone who has created relishes the sense of their creation living outside of them.


Nice!

Free will defense is a start to defeat the logical problem of evil.
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 May, 2012 08:40 pm
@Val Killmore,
Val Killmore wrote:

5. If God created everything, then everything should be good.


I am also an atheist but this argument is weak.

For one thing, why would an all good being require that if it made something that it would have to be good as well? This logic does not stand.
If I were an intelligent being, does that mean I could never do a dumb thing? I think a good being could create something that was evil and it would not impact the nature of the being to do so. This is the hand gun fallacy at work. I create a gun and sell it to a guy and that guy murders someone with the gun. Are you saying I am the murderer because I sold the guy the gun? No. A being who creates something evil does not make the being evil.

Explain how a good being can not create something evil.
gungasnake
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 31 May, 2012 09:20 pm
@Val Killmore,
Quote:
Theists, How well can you defend your beilief that God exists?


Simple. Walk into any Home Depot outlet and walk over to where they keep propane grills. Do you see any of them which can operate themselves, or make a decision to cook something or not cook something in some proximity?

The answer is obviously not. That proves that the devil exists since it is inconceivable that atheists and evolutionites won't roast in hell and it should be obvious enough that hell, like the propane grills, cannot operate itself.

That also proves that God exists. Given that the devil exists, if God DIDN'T exist, everything we see around us would be totally evil; the fact that there is some good around us proves that God exists.

QED

 

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