[FoRK] Re: A bit of religion - Problem of Evil

Corinna corinna.schultz
Fri Jan 6 07:19:06 PST 2006

"Kevin Elliott" <k-elliott at wiu.edu> wrote
> At 07:27 -0600  on  1/5/06, Corinna wrote:
>>The Christian solution to the problem of evil seems self-contradictory. 
>>God willingly limited himself (and so is effectively no longer omni*) by
>>having the requirement that people have free will?
> Again, what is god's goal?  If your goal is to create beings that choose 
> to follow/worship/respect you ENTIRELY of their own choice, then there is 
> no other way to do it than make a place for them to grow and let them 
> loose.

"Letting them loose" doesn't seem to be mainstream Christian thinking. (I 
realize that there are many strands of Christian theology...)  A main point 
of Christianity is that God is actively interested in us and is constantly 
intervening in our affairs. Look at the Old Testament, for example.

If God were letting us loose, intercessory prayer would be pointless. So 
then, if God chooses to save one miner and not the other 12, there you see 
the Problem of Evil. If "God was with us" when Houston escaped the 
hurricane, then why was God *not* with Beaumont? Christianity, though it 
doesn't like to admit it, logically makes God responsible for everything 
that happens, since he has the power to do something, and often chooses not 
to. Furthermore, He's the one who set the rules -- life didn't *have* to be 
this way.

If you saw a child drowning and didn't do anything, wouldn't people think 
you were morally culpable? Why don't we apply the same standards when we 
think about God? After all he's omni*, he isn't incapable of saving all 13 
miners... or giving the CEO a heart attack and letting the next guy in line 
decide to fix the safety violations in the first place.

Regarding free will...
If Free Will is the Highest Good (that is, human evil is ok because our free 
will should be preserved), then there is no moral basis for us to judge 
somone else's actions, assuming they were the result of free will. So are we 
then horribly arrogant to punish people for acts of free will (in effect 
usurping God's authority)? Or perhaps there is something higher (in a moral 
sense) than free will? Hence the Problem of Evil.

If G is omni* then there is no reason to make the rules (any rules: the 
rules of logic, the rules of physics, the rules of spirituality, etc) work 
out like this. Ergo, G is not omni*, and the Christian God cannot exist.

(Some lesser kind of G could exist, but that's not what the current argument 
is considering.)


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