[FoRK] A bit of religion - Problem of Evil
Wed Jan 4 20:09:07 PST 2006
The fuzzy status of the problem of evil, as Kevin
Elliott demonstrates, is due to the fuzzy nature
of all normative notions. Believers posit the
necessity of lesser evils to greater goods, which
is easy to do given that they get to define the
supernatural cosmology within which the natural
world is but a small part with special role.
But you don't need omnibenevolence to show
the impossibility of the classic god. It turns out
that an omnipotent, omniscient god is
impossible, regardless of any normative
(1) By virtue of omnipotence, a god, g1, could
create a god, g2, who is identical in all regards
to g1, except having no awareness of or access
to g1. Note that "create" does not imply the
two gods share any temporal dimension.
(2) From g2's perspective, g2 is eternal and
the ground of everything that exists.
(3) Of course, any claim that g2 is the classic
god is false, since g2 is a dependent being. g2
cannot know this. But assuming omniscience,
he knows that he cannot know this.
(4) Which means g1 cannot know this either.
For all g1 knows, there might be an ur-god,
Hence, no god can know that it is the ultimate
god. This doesn't rule out all gods. As Bostrom
describes, we might be simulations executed
by our far advanced descendants, who to us,
are as gods. But it rules out the classic god,
the Allah, Elohim, I-am-that-I-am who is not
only at the bottom of the chain, but knows
he is at the bottom of the chain.
For some reason, this argument doesn't get
nearly the attention that does the problem of
evil. I guess people like the fuzziness that
morality brings. ;-)
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