[FoRK] A bit of religion - Problem of Evil

Kevin Elliott k-elliott
Wed Jan 4 15:26:04 PST 2006


At 16:28 -0600  on  1/4/06, Corinna wrote:
>Posted for comment, as a favor to someone else. But I'm interested as well
>if any of you have anything to say in the way of criticism or argument.

I've seen this sort of argument and it ignores the key element that 
Christianity adds to the definition (and the description below most 
closely applies to the Christian conception of god).

Free Will.

If God wishes to create beings that have free will and with that free 
will choose to follow his moral precepts he has NO CHOICE but to 
create a world that those beings are free to make as horrible as they 
wish.  ANY intervention above a certain level would fundamentally 
undermine free will and thus his whole purpose of this activity.

Premise 2 is also flaw.  It assumes that God's concern is for "man" 
in the sense of "Homo Sapien".  No religion I'm aware of believes 
that.  Instead they posit the existence of some sort of "soul" that 
is part of who we are, but more than our physical being.  As such the 
lack of "perfection" in our physical bodies is a straw man- they 
weren't meant to be perfect.  They were intended to be part of the 
testing ground, and as such would obviously be imperfect.

>(Asterisks represent hyperlinks to notes :) "G" refers to a god.)
>
>------
>
>(Previous discussion of the problem of evil, and variations on the argument
>presented below, snipped. I'm assuming you all know what the problem of evil
>is.)
>
>
>
>(premise 1) G is:
>
>-> Omnipotent: capable of _any_* solution;
>
>-> Omniscient: capable of determining and subtly applying _the_ optimal
>solution, regardless of breadth or complexity
>
>-> Omnibeneficent: desirous of obtaining _only_ the optimal solution.
>
>
>
>(Premise 2) G has not applied an optimal solution**.
>
>(Conclusion) [1] and [2] contradict.  G as defined by [1] does not exist.
>
>
>
>*Conceding the requirement that G's acts need be ethically and logically
>consistent*** serves to increase the subtlety of the argument, and perhaps
>the creativity necessary for a full and fair consideration.  Consider, as a
>fanciful suggestion of a superior solution, that men were instead of anxious
>and nervous primates (which can not be denied), sanguine and serene-minded
>beings of an arboreal nature (cf. Tolkien).  It is not hard to see, while we
>ourselves lack the intelligence and subtlety for a thoroughgoing and
>adequate solution, that there are many ways in which the basic conditions of
>our existence could be improved.  Here the suggestion only addresses certain
>aspects of the physiological and psychological environment; it must be kept
>in mind that G would have the ability to address and optimize across every
>remotely relevant element of our existence from the charge of an electron,
>to the nature of geography and space, to spiritual perspective, to the
>quality of the ecological constraints man must regard, to the manner in
>which our minds are structured -- indeed, of all realities, whether
>conceivable or otherwise.  By the requirements of [1] G must have done
>precisely this, and in the absolutely most perfect manner.  The strain upon
>[not-2] is unbearable.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>**Shades of Leibniz.
>
>
>
>
>
>***Why should Omnipotence have this limitation?  Do logical constraints
>somehow preexist G (cf. the Greek demiurge)?  Or is there an ethic which G
>must recognize, apart from that which he chooses to define/be as Good?
>
>
>
>This argument has the advantage of broader and deeper application, and able
>to cut through all of the narrower considerations and counterarguments,
>which operate by presuming some of the regular features of theistic thought,
>and then propose to solve the problems in exactly those terms presumed.
>[The argument above] requires that every theistic conception of G's action
>or character be absorbed into [1], and that every ethically or pragmatically
>estimable fact of life coordinate with [not-2].
>
>
>
>
>
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-- 
______________________________________________________
Arguing with an engineer is like wrestling with a pig in mud.
After a while, you realize the pig is enjoying it.
______________________________________________________
Kevin Elliott   <mailto:kelliott at mac.com>
AIM/iChatAV: kelliott at mac.com  (video chat available)
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