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Moral evil and God
#1

Moral evil and God
Is it better for God to prevent moral evil, or punish moral evil?  What does this question say about Christian theology and apologetics?
I am a sovereign citizen of the Multiverse, and I vote!


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#2

Moral evil and God
Ever notice how god never seems to do anything?
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#3

Moral evil and God
Christian: "God gives us free will to do moral evil. Later, God will punish us for doing moral evil."
Atheist: "But what about the suffering a moral evil doer inflicts on innocent victims? What if that God does not exist"?
I am a sovereign citizen of the Multiverse, and I vote!


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#4

Moral evil and God
(02-21-2021, 12:00 AM)Minimalist Wrote: Ever notice how god never seems to do anything?

It is puzzling, isn't it?   It's almost as if a god doesn't exist.

The question is if god is omniscient he would know in advance who will burn in hell for the free will decisions they will make in the future and he knows he's going to subject them to everlasting hell as punishment.  This particular god is not a good god. He's a serial killer, he sets up people for failure with all sorts of trip wires everywhere and he's a psychotic narcissistic maniac to boot.
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#5

Moral evil and God
The Problem of Evil (which I prefer to call the Problem of Suffering) is arguably the most powerful argument against god as typically described: benevolent, loving, and good toward humanity. What it unpacks to is that such a deity, if allowing any amount of suffering at all, cannot be all good (omnibenevolent) but must be either sadistic, impotent, and/or indifferent with respect to that suffering. So in my mind, whether suffering comes via tormenters directly or not, it is suffering and it still makes the Abrahamic god logically impossible.

Theists attempt to construct a "theodicy" to wiggle out of this, but it is like trying to make a two (or one)-legged stool, it just does not work.

The most common tactic is to throw omnipotence under the bus, since god having some limitations is the least incriminating of the possible explanations for why such a deity would permit suffering. This is what what Rabbi Harold Kushner did in his popular 1981 book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People. And, you can always argue that these are voluntary, self-imposed limitations, and thus try to undo the damage your argument-from-impotence does to your god-concept.

Another common tactic is to deflect with NewSpeak-like arguments that bad is actually good, that without evil we would not "appreciate" good, that sometimes god needs to "test" our faith or "teach" us hard lessons in order to "strengthen" us.

To which I quote Dilbert: "That which does not kill me makes me weak and angry".

It is SO much more economical to just recognize that life is just a series of things happening, some of which you're going to like, some of which you're not going to like. It isn't part of a Plan and doesn't come with guarantees of fairness or comprehensibility or oversight. No one is responsible. There are no guarantees. Shit happens.
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#6

Moral evil and God
(02-20-2021, 11:59 PM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote: Is it better for God to prevent moral evil, or punish moral evil?  What does this question say about Christian theology and apologetics?

I would say punish but it seems it would need to be seen.  Justice unseen has no deterrent effect.  It would be great if there was a real god that existed and served as nothing more than a "top cop" to mete out punishments to evil-doers.  Too "prevent" it seems too intrusive to free will, too much like making us puppets.  What it says about Christian theology and apologetics, I take it is a rhetorical question.  Just a made up mythology to fit the facts on the ground.
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#7

Moral evil and God
Contrary to what theists often tell you I don't think the problem of evil is answered properly by free will, taking aside that I'm not sure free will (at least as required by the argument) even exists.

If anyone's kids for instance got into a fight, one pull a knife from the kitchen table to use it to stab the other, wouldn't you intervene ? I suspect everyone here would answer yes, valuing a persons freedom of choice is not the same as allowing anything.
What for instance makes Hitlers free will more important than an innocents child's survival ?

Then we also have a god who wants people stoned to death for what seem petty offences now, why isn't their free will respected, in fact why lay out laws at all if the god you worship values free will over the brutal murder of innocents ?

It's funny how gods enormous power is limited to the laws that men wrote, and the interactions with evil limited to what men are willing to do to stop it !!
Those who ask a lot of questions may seem stupid, but those who don't ask questions stay stupid.
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#8

Moral evil and God
(02-21-2021, 12:00 AM)Minimalist Wrote: Ever notice how god never seems to do anything?

God is busy deciding what to do with evildoers like you... clearly
Those who ask a lot of questions may seem stupid, but those who don't ask questions stay stupid.
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#9

Moral evil and God
You'd think the prick could make up his mind by now.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#10

Moral evil and God
(02-20-2021, 11:59 PM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote: Is it better for God to prevent moral evil, or punish moral evil?  What does this question say about Christian theology and apologetics?

The typical theistic answer is that he does both. He prevents moral evil on his terms and when he wants. If he doesn't, then he has a reason that we as humans cannot understand. Also, he punishes moral evil under the same conditions. Anytime we question him, that is just us imposing our will onto him.
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#11

Moral evil and God
(02-20-2021, 11:59 PM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote: Is it better for God to prevent moral evil, or punish moral evil?

Is it better to prevent an airplane mechanic from making a fatal error, or punishing the mechanic after the error has caused a crash?  It's the same question with a less amorphous frame than "moral evil", and the answer should be obvious.
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#12

Moral evil and God
(02-20-2021, 11:59 PM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote: Is it better for God to prevent moral evil, or punish moral evil?  What does this question say about Christian theology and apologetics?

What right does an already morally evil being have to punish moral evil in the first place?  Consider
“I expect to pass this way but once; any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” (Etienne De Grellet)
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#13

Moral evil and God
(02-20-2021, 11:59 PM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote: Is it better for God to prevent moral evil, or punish moral evil?  What does this question say about Christian theology and apologetics?

As God or gods don't exist, this is ultimately a non-question, which only deserves
a non-answer.     Would it be possible to fertilise your garden with unicorn shit?
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.
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#14

Moral evil and God
(02-21-2021, 04:44 PM)SYZ Wrote:
(02-20-2021, 11:59 PM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote: Is it better for God to prevent moral evil, or punish moral evil?  What does this question say about Christian theology and apologetics?

  Would it be possible to fertilise your garden with unicorn shit?

Sure. It'll make all the flowers sparkle.  Big Grin
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#15

Moral evil and God
So what is "Moral Evil?" Without a God, there is no such thing. People, are basically highly evolved animals. They generally maintain all their basic instincts but have been able to use their intelligence to alter their behavior. We often refer to someone who goes on a killing spree as being evil, but, in fact, it is probably someone who was affected by his/her upbringing or was born with a kink in their emotional health. They are not evil, but broken. No one is really good or evil. We are all just living creatures that make decisions based on our thought processes and past experience.
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#16

Moral evil and God
The fact that we can identify "moral evil" at all, is a big problem for the gods.
As long as the particular deity in question (can be said to) existed, the standard existed, and that god did not create the reality in which the god(s) find themsleves, unless one agrees it created moral evil.
(Sorry ... "free will" does not cut it).

If a deity has to react at all, to anything with any sort of imperative, ... in this case moral evil, ... means that, ... a standard exists quite apart from the deity, and thus stands as a refutation to its existence, and begs the question concerning the origins of both the evil and the standard, and reality, all of whicg would have to be concurrent with the god(s).

I'm well aware that the religious wll say that the standard is God, just by virtue of his existence, and that what he is, ... is good.
But that's not the problem. The problem is that Reality eccompases "other standards" which (then but this argument) he is not.
The basic problem remains. Reality is, and always was, larger than this deity, and no explanation for evil is there.
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#17

Moral evil and God
(02-21-2021, 05:36 AM)Phaedrus Wrote:
(02-20-2021, 11:59 PM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote: Is it better for God to prevent moral evil, or punish moral evil?  What does this question say about Christian theology and apologetics?

The typical theistic answer is that he does both. He prevents moral evil on his terms and when he wants. If he doesn't, then he has a reason that we as humans cannot understand. Also, he punishes moral evil under the same conditions. Anytime we question him, that is just us imposing our will onto him.

I keep returning to the omniscient problem.  An omniscient god cannot be a suprised god.  All events are pre-known to him even before he allegedly created the universe. So in creating the universe he knowingly set into motion the torture of millions of people that he fully understands will make sinful choices.  He is not loving or kindly and he knows it from the beginning of time.  




Of course, there's zero evidence this deity exists but that's another topic.
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#18

Moral evil and God
Double post, sorry.  It took forever to load so I hit the button again.  Silly me for being so impatient.
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#19

Moral evil and God
That omniscience thing is an absolute god killer for me. 

"You made all this shit happen deliberately? Fuck off you absolute scumbag".

To put it mildly.
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#20

Moral evil and God
(02-22-2021, 02:47 PM)WICharlie Wrote: So what is "Moral Evil?"  Without a God, there is no such thing.  People, are basically highly evolved animals.  They generally maintain all their basic instincts but have been able to use their intelligence to alter their behavior.  We often refer to someone who goes on a killing spree as being evil, but, in fact, it is probably someone who was affected by his/her upbringing or was born with a kink in their emotional health. They are not evil, but broken.  No one is really good or evil.  We are all just living creatures that make decisions based on our thought processes and past experience.
We might ask "what is morality" first, before we can adjectivize it to "moral evil" or for that matter "moral anything".

Morality is the abstract, informal consensus of a society on what behaviors are appropriate / functional / beneficial and which are inappropriate / dysfunctional / harmful. It has many expressions. The one most people think of first is laws and the adjudication thereof, but it is also less formal social conventions / customs and the threat of ostracization and the promise of inclusion generally (since this is a (dis)incentive for hyper social creatures like humans), and a bunch of other things.

It arises organically from human interaction, no gods necessary, and nothing is objectively "right" or "wrong" and certainly not immutable -- just that which people with whom you need to cooperate and interact (dis)approve of at the moment. Morality didn't exist until two humans decided they wanted to interact with each other. It doesn't technically exist between any two humans today who aren't interacting / cooperating in some fashion. It's only relevant to human relations.

The question in the OP inherently assumes morality is not a work product of society as describe above; rather, it posits morality as the universally objective and immutable conduct code of a god, who then has the choice to allow people to be immoral and how to respond to that ... or to prevent immorality to begin with.

So it's not only a question of god not existing, but of divine or religiously-derived morality not existing. Morality is just what society decides it is, no more and no less. So no gods enter into the question. Religion likes to style itself as the creator and protector of morality. In fact it has the same morality everyone else does, and is accountable to it. Religion influences morality by influencing its members to interact with it. In theory if religion becomes sufficiently ubiquitous and authoritarian as to dictate morality through its members embedded in the society, then it can plausibly claim to be the fount of goodness (or, really, just rightness, by a certain definition) in the world. But it is just a numbers game. Religion in the West has been losing numbers to Nones and so its influence on morality is increasingly overwhelmed by non-members and by other religions with somewhat different takes on what is moral. This explains why one religion tends to want to dominate a society and drown out other voices -- so that it can pretend to be the exclusive source of moral insight.

Put another way, religion is like a virus that can't reproduce but must coerce hosts to make copies of itself. In the same way, religion can't produce morality; it can only hijack the societal mechanisms of morality and bend them to its own needs instead of allow morality to evolve organically to serve the needs of society generally, with appropriate inputs such as the observation of the positive and negative outcomes of certain actions in actual practice.
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#21

Moral evil and God
(02-23-2021, 12:01 AM)Finite Monkeys Wrote: That omniscience thing is an absolute god killer for me. 

"You made all this shit happen deliberately? Fuck off you absolute scumbag".

To put it mildly.

If Christians didn't insist their god was also "loving and merciful" they could get away with it.  But alas, they keep persisting that their god is loving and merciful.   A simple cursory reading of the Bible shows him to be a ethnic cleasning maniac. He personally executes the first born son in every Egyptian households just so his favorite tribe can escape into the desert.   

Exodus 11:5 

Quote:Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well.
 

People think it's the first born babies. Nope, it's not just the babies but the first born sons. So this means the Biblical god killed thousands upon thousands of Egyptian babies, boys and young men in one night along with a whole bunch of firstborn cows. Why the hell he has to take his anger out on the poor cows is beyond me.   

As bad as Hitler was (and he was an awful man) he doesn't even come close to the genocide and mass murder of Mr. Yahweh.
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#22

Moral evil and God
(02-21-2021, 12:00 AM)Minimalist Wrote: Ever notice how god never seems to do anything?

It's *REALLY* subtle.
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#23

Moral evil and God
(02-23-2021, 12:57 AM)Dancefortwo Wrote: If Christians didn't insist their god was also "loving and merciful" they could get away with it.  But alas, they keep persisting that their god is loving and merciful...

Yeah, but "My god is a sick, sadistic mother-fucker that will absolutely fuck your shit up" doesn't fill the donation plates come Sunday morning.
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#24

Moral evil and God
God is whatever you want him to be.

Oh, and he needs money.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#25

Moral evil and God
(02-23-2021, 12:57 AM)Dancefortwo Wrote:
(02-23-2021, 12:01 AM)Finite Monkeys Wrote: That omniscience thing is an absolute god killer for me. 

"You made all this shit happen deliberately? Fuck off you absolute scumbag".

To put it mildly.

If Christians didn't insist their god was also "loving and merciful" they could get away with it.  But alas, they keep persisting that their god is loving and merciful.   A simple cursory reading of the Bible shows him to be a ethnic cleasning maniac. He personally executes the first born son in every Egyptian households just so his favorite tribe can escape into the desert.   

Exodus 11:5 

Quote:Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well.
 

People think it's the first born babies. Nope, it's not just the babies but the first born sons. So this means the Biblical god killed thousands upon thousands of Egyptian babies, boys and young men in one night along with a whole bunch of firstborn cows. Why the hell he has to take his anger out on the poor cows is beyond me.   

As bad as Hitler was (and he was an awful man) he doesn't even come close to the genocide and mass murder of Mr. Yahweh.

I always forget about the cattle.
If you were a wild animal, you're OK.
But not the cattle.
God works in mysterious ways.

Weeping
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