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How can a good God allow suffering

 
 
Glennn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 May, 2016 07:24 am
@rosborne979,
Quote:
[snood wrote:

By the way, I probably should tell you that anytime you ask a 'God' related question on A2K, it will pretty much get bum-rushed by the resident A2K Atheists who will tell you the question is moot because there is no God.
___________________________________________________

And honestly, why wouldn't we? Isn't it reasonable to question basic assumptions when a question like this gets posted? And even more broadly, is it not incumbent on every intelligent person to challenge the basic veracity of the assumptions implied by a question like this? How could any reasonable person possibly let an assumption like that simply skate on through? Especially in an open forum like this?

For example, if someone popped in and asked "Why do Unicorns like to put their heads in virgin's laps?", would you expect that to just go through without challenge, and people to start an enthusiastic analysis of the motivations of the Unicorn? Does the word "God" (which I put in quotes because there are about a billion of them) earn some type of special pass that other magical entities don't? Is any particular "God" more magical than a Unicorn? Can there be such a thing as "more magical"? Is there more evidence for God than a Unicorn? Or is God simply a more "reasonable" form of magic in people's minds? The mere fact that I can equate God and Unicorns probably feels wrong to some people, but their feeling only demonstrates the point.

Now, to be fair, you might say to the person asking the question, "are you using the question to form a purely academic discussion on morality, or do you actually believe in Unicorns?" If the person says that the question is purely hypothetical then you might want to explore the concept on that basis alone. But if the person says they actually believe in Unicorns, would you really want to continue on with a careful analysis of the moral question knowing that they were already delusional? Might you become suspicious that this person's reasoning process was already impaired and think that you might not get a very rational discussion out of them?

On the other hand, if A2K were a church or something, then I could see a question about God going unchallenged. After all, if you're sitting in a room full of people who already believe in Unicorns, then you would expect a discussion of Unicorns to follow without challenge. But in an open forum like A2K it would be unrealistic not to expect to be challenged on the basic premise of the question, wouldn't it?

And likewise, in public and in daily life, the assumption of God should not go unchallenged, any more than the assumption of Unicorns should. /quote]
_____________________________________________

Well said!
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Thu 5 May, 2016 07:27 am
All the good christians here seem to have missed the biblical reference i made above. Matthew, Chapter Seven, Verses Three to Five, in the King James Version:

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.


My post was a response to Newologist's post, in which he quoted Leady (i sure don't read Leady's drivel on my own account). Later, i expanded on that after Snood put his two cents in about how the evil atheists have popped up on Bill Maher's show (a show, by the way, that i've never watched).
snood
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 May, 2016 07:33 am
@Setanta,
I'll have you know sir that I value my contributions as at least worth 3 cents or even higher on occasion.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 May, 2016 07:33 am
@snood,
So do i, just not on that occasion.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 May, 2016 07:52 am
@snood,
snood wrote:
Friction is probably intrinsic to discussions about anything God-related on A2K. But (IMO) you'd do much to preempt some unnecessary friction by only speaking for yourself. We'd appreciate it.

Oh, "we" would, would "we"? Now who's not just speaking for yourself.

I consider it highly relevant that I've run into the same communications difficulties with LeadFoot before, and that I'm not the only one to have complained about it. So I will continue to point this out when necessary.

To be honest, I find discussions about that actual "point" being discussed very interesting, even if I disagree with the opinion being expressed. But it's very tedious and not of much interest to me to have to go back over previous posts in minute detail trying to repeatedly explain what was written.
snood
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 May, 2016 08:00 am
@rosborne979,
Quote:
Oh, "we" would, would "we"? Now who's not just speaking for yourself.


PLEASE tell me you didn't miss the little irony included for whimsy value.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 May, 2016 08:11 am
@Leadfoot,
Leadfoot wrote:
What did I misinterpret?

Alright, I'll do this once.
Leadfoot wrote:
In the current example, how could contemplating the question of "How can a good God allow suffering" possibly harm anyone?

My point (as a response to Snood's post) was NOT that it's harmful for the OP to ask that question, but that I do check myself and consider the possibility that my own "response" to that question might do harm.

I have elder relatives who are very religious and I often choose not to respond to them because I think it will do more harm than good. But I know them, so I can anticipate their reactions. I do not know the person who posted here.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 May, 2016 08:56 am
@Glennn,
Glennn wrote:

Rosborne979 wrote:
And likewise, in public and in daily life, the assumption of God should not go unchallenged, any more than the assumption of Unicorns should.

Well said!

Thanks.

So far the only people who have challenged this seem to be saying that it's NOT ok to challenge their basic assumptions. I think they are implying that they fell insulted by this, although I don't believe it's been stated directly. Nobody has addressed the actual logical challenge.

The person who originally started the thread has ignored the logical challenge entirely and simply asked an additional question which further complicates things by conflating the general concept of God with Jesus (probably in a Christian context, although it's not specified).
snood
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 May, 2016 09:11 am
@rosborne979,
I don't think I've at all implied that "it's not all right to challenge" anyone's assumptions. I've simply tried to highlight the need some folks have to create empty contention with people who are clearly not spoiling for a fight about their faith.

1st person: Why does God allow children to suffer?
2nd person: Well, I've always thought that there is a larger plan, that...
3rd Person (interrupting) Because there ain't no god!

the 3rd person has a choice when happening upon that discussion - he could see it as some of those religious types, talking shop - and go on about his business.
He could try to participate by remarking that he personally doesn't believe in god, and then discuss things in a way that didn't challenge people to defend possibly lifelong held beliefs to a stranger.
He could directly confront the foundational premise of the whole thread, thus turning the discussion into another back and forth between people who live their lives with faith and those who don't.

It's a free choice anyone on A2K certainly has the privilege to make, but it is a choice. One of my motives in this thread was wondering if I was an atheist, would I choose similarly (or care at all) if I see a discussion taking place between people who don't share my (non)belief.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 May, 2016 09:27 am
@snood,
snood wrote:
I don't think I've at all implied that "it's not all right to challenge" anyone's assumptions. I've simply tried to highlight the need some folks have to create empty contention with people who are clearly not spoiling for a fight about their faith.

I understand your point, but I think we just see what constitutes a legitimate and normal response differently.

Would it change your opinion at all to know that there have been other threads started in which the original poster specified explicitly that they wanted to discuss the question within a theological context only, and I (and I suspect others) kindly deferred in that case and did not challenge it outside of a theological context?

I will try to find the thread I am thinking of to see what kind of activity it garnered. I don't think I've been tracking it, so it's probably lost in the haze of A2K history already.
snood
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 May, 2016 09:31 am
@rosborne979,
I sincerely appreciate the openmindedness that allowed you to address my perspective. Yes, it would alter my opinion if you showed me examples of threads where people had clearly abstained from disrupting discussions that labeled themselves as exclusively theological. I honestly haven't seen an example of that.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 May, 2016 09:37 am
@snood,
snood wrote:
I sincerely appreciate the openmindedness that allowed you to address my perspective. Yes, it would alter my opinion if you showed me examples of threads where people had clearly abstained from disrupting discussions that labeled themselves as exclusively theological. I honestly haven't seen an example of that.

I don't know how others may have responded to those types of threads, but I do know that I respect a request like that.

It also makes sense to me to see a request like that. Because I do understand the relevance of philosophical or theological discussion within a particular context.

I think the particular discussion I am thinking of was posted by Smilerious or maybe Misti, both of whom I usually find very reasonable with their theological ideas and posts.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 May, 2016 09:49 am
@snood,
I'm not sure if this one is the exact one I'm thinking of, but the original post does contain a caveat which defines the context of the question:
http://able2know.org/topic/313641-1

I have not read through it, so I do not remember if I ever replied, or what others may have said.
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 May, 2016 07:59 pm
@rosborne979,
Quote:
I'm not sure if this one is the exact one I'm thinking of, but the original post does contain a caveat which defines the context of the question:
http://able2know.org/topic/313641-1

I have not read through it, so I do not remember if I ever replied, or what others may have said.
In any case, that's a fine example of an obvious theological thread meant for those who believe a God exists in which atheists felt the need to give 'refined' (and otherwise) versions of "There is no God!".

Was that comprehensible enough?
0 Replies
 
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 May, 2016 08:15 pm
@rosborne979,
Quote:
I consider it highly relevant that I've run into the same communications difficulties with LeadFoot before, and that I'm not the only one to have complained about it. So I will continue to point this out when necessary.
It is obvious you have a complaint with me but the reasons for it remain unstated.

There are dozens of posters on A2K that I find incomprehensible and cannot communicate with. The only reasonable response to that situation is simply not to engage them. But you feel some need to repeatedly point it out and "complain" about it.

Can you explain this need or explain what you hope to gain by it? If it is not for one of the reasons I previously mentioned, then it really is a mystery to me that I'd like to understand.

0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 May, 2016 07:13 am
Here's a thread with a question about the Bible rather than just "God".

http://able2know.org/topic/321322-1

Let's see if the damn atheists get in and derail this one too.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 May, 2016 08:10 am
I suggest leadfoot check out atheists' threads, begun for atheists, and see how many believers crashed the party.
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 May, 2016 08:32 am
We can have a satisfactory reply to this question if we enlarge the concept of God to simply mean mathematical order. So no this is not necessarily a religious question but rather a question about the nature of ecosystems and why Darwinism and competition are necessary in an evolving environment. "Suffering", decay, the 2 law of thermodynamics, are a balancing condition to keep the ecosystem running properly. A perfectly balanced Universe would be changeless motionless and boring. The rule of nature seems to be we have to give back bit by bit all we got borrowed in life, and some of us sooner rather then later. There is no point in complaining about the nature of reality. That which IS is by nature right. Whether we get the reason why it is so or not is absolutely unimportant.
0 Replies
 
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 May, 2016 09:01 am
@rosborne979,
rosborne said:
Quote:
Let's see if the damn atheists get in and derail this one too.

Edgar said:
Quote:
I suggest leadfoot check out atheists' threads, begun for atheists, and see how many believers crashed the party.

You are both missing what I am saying. The sub topic I started was not a complaint about atheist participation, I actually encourage that. What I was exploring was WHY atheists participate.

As far as derailing, some of the most interesting threads are a result of unexpected branches of threads only slightly related to the OP. No complaints from me on that either.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 May, 2016 10:42 am
@Leadfoot,
I can't speak for anyone else, I only know why I answered.

And in this case it was as simple as: I knew the answer so I gave it. My answer was honest and functional and completely solves the paradox implied by the question.
0 Replies
 
 

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