Bi-Weekly Report: The Problem of Evil

This week, my report is about the POE (Problem of Evil).

On Bernardo Kastrup’s blog, there was an interesting discussion recently about the POE in the comments section of this entry:

Bernardo Kastrup: Realities of Academic publishing

A commenter by the name of Steve Turnbull seems to believe strongly in the POE:

I certainly understand the appeal of idealism - you (username tjssailor) make a very good case. But I have yet to be persuaded on the problem of evil. Like you and countless others I have suffered a lot in life. My parents divorced. My brother committed suicide. My marriage broke up (happily I’m with a new partner). And lots more besides So there’s certainly more than enough there not to believe in God;) But there’s also more than enough in nature/the universe to keep me searching for answers. And I’m open to any avenue that might provide them - both scientific and spiritual/religious. Let me ask you then - how do you know the ‘judicial thugs’ will transition to another state of being and suffer the consequences of their actions?
Steve also shared this article from BeThinking.org from William Lane Craig:

Be Thinking: WLC and the Problem of Evil

In this article, WLC distinguishes between two different kinds of POE:

During the last quarter century or so, an enormous amount of philosophical analysis has been poured into the problem of evil, with the result that genuine philosophical progress on the age-old question has been made. We may begin our inquiry by making a number of distinctions to help keep our thinking straight. Most broadly speaking, we must distinguish between the intellectual problem of evil and the emotional problem of evil. The intellectual problem of evil concerns how to give a rational explanation of the co-existence of God and evil. The emotional problem of evil concerns how to comfort those who are suffering and how to dissolve the emotional dislike people have of a God who would permit such evil. The intellectual problem lies in the province of the philosopher; the emotional problem lies in the province of the counselor.
 On the Kastrup link, someone made a comment on how the concept of evil comes from humans. I agreed with him, and then I posted something about the POE from another site (I won’t share the location here):

There is no problem of Evil -- as you guys have rightly said here. Atheists cannot define evil -- as my discussion with them about the justification of lies on CARM exposed. If they do define evil (as HRG did), they rely on theist definitions, which is it’s own self-contradictory thing.

Atheism has the root problem of being based on things placed in the wrong ontological position. Placing Man at the center of the universe is as equally-indefensible as geocentric cosmology.

Then, I posted a link to Joe’s blog entry about the POE:

Religious A Priori: Answer to Theodicy-Soteriological Drama

Here’s Joe’s argument:

(1)God’s purpose in creation: to create a Moral Universe, that is one in which free moral agents willingly choose the good.

(2) Moral choice requires absolutely that choice be free (thus free will is necessitated).

(3) Allowance of free choices requires the risk that the chooser will make evil choices.

(4). The possibility of evil choices is a risk God must run, thus the value of free outweighs all other considerations, since without there would be no moral universe and the purpose of creation would be thwarted.

This leaves the atheist in the position of demanding to know why God doesn’t just tell everyone that he’s there, and that he requires moral behavior, and what that entails. Thus there would be no mystery and people would be much less inclined to sin.

This is the point where Soteriological Drama figures into it. Argument on Soteriological Drama:

(5) Life is a “Drama” not for the sake of entertainment, but in the sense that a dramatic tension exists between our ordinary observations of life on a daily basis, and the ultimate goals, ends and purposes for which we are on this earth.

(6) Clearly God wants us to seek on a level other than the obvious, daily, demonstrative level or he would have made the situation more plain to us.

(7) We can assume that the reason for the “big mystery” is the internalization of choices. If God appeared to the world in open objective fashion and laid down the rules, we would probably all try to follow them, but we would not want to follow them. Thus are obedience would be lip service and not from the heart.

(8) Therefore, God wants a heart felt response which is internationalized value system that comes through the search for existential answers; that search is phenomenological; introspective, internal, not amenable to ordinary demonstrative evidence.
On Kastrup’s blog, Damien said this about Joe’s article:

Thanks Jbsptn, the article does make some good points, however I get the feeling that it is talking of ‘God’ being something entirely separate.
Check out these articles and the comments (on Kastrup’s article). Lots of good stuff there. Have a nice day!


Comments

JBsptfn said…
Just to let you know, I posted this at 12:35 EST on 11/15. I don't know why it says November 14th.
Gary said…
The Christian explanation for the existence of evil is correct...IF Yahweh, the ancient Hebrew deity exists. That is the underlying premise of this belief. The existence of a (generic) Creator in no way confirms the Christian explanation that evil entered the world by man's free will choice to eat some of Yahweh's forbidden fruit.

Christians can give very good arguments for the existence of an intelligent, generic Creator, but I have yet to see a good argument for the existence of Yahweh. The evidence for a generic Creator is sufficiently good that atheists cannot prove the non-existence of a Creator, although, the majority of cosmologists do NOT believe that a Creator is necessary to explain the origin of the universe, the Big Bang. The scientific consensus on the existence of a generic Creator remains undecided.

But doesn't the evidence strongly suggest that if there is an intelligent Creator, he/she/they/it are indifferent (or impotent) to suffering? What if the generic Creator created the world based on the principle that living creatures would desire a sense of maximal well-being and would desire to avoid a sense of a loss of well-being? Therefore, "good" would be anything that promotes a sense of well-being and "evil" would be anything that reduces a sense of well-being. To me, that makes much more sense than the idea that the massive suffering in the world, at this very moment, and for millions of years, is all due to illegal fruit eating!

The Judeo-Christian Creation story doesn't seem congruent with the concept of a perfect, all-powerful, all-possessing Deity. Why would such a being want to create to begin with? And why would he feel the need to create little "mini-hims" with a free will? Why would a perfect being need to feel loved by another being with a free will??? Doesn't it make more sense that this ancient story is a human invention, invented by people lacking any scientific knowledge about the world, in an attempt to understand their very scary, dangerous world?
Joe Hinman said…
Jesus is the best argument for that and the only one we need, He did rise from the dead.
Joe Hinman said…
POE very appropriat.very timely. Gona have a lot of that POE for the next eight years
Joe Hinman said…
The Judeo-Christian Creation story doesn't seem congruent with the concept of a perfect, all-powerful, all-possessing Deity. Why would such a being want to create to begin with? And why would he feel the need to create little "mini-hims" with a free will? Why would a perfect being need to feel loved by another being with a free will??? Doesn't it make more sense that this ancient story is a human invention, invented by people lacking any scientific knowledge about the world, in an attempt to understand their very scary, dangerous world?



we don't need to take the Genesis creation myth literally, That is just baggage from the obsolescent evangelical movement,
Gary said…
Do you believe the story about the Fall of Adam?
Gary said…
No Fall, no Original Sin.
No original sin, no need for a savior.
Joe Hinman said…
Gary said...
Do you believe the story about the Fall of Adam?


not litteraly. The story of the fall is an allegory of the coming of age that affects all people who obtain majority and become accuntable.



11/16/2016 11:02:00 AM Delete
Blogger Gary said...
No Fall, no Original Sin.
No original sin, no need for a savior.

false, we are lost we still need saving, we just don't need saving because Eve ate an
apple,
Joe Hinman said…
On Kastrup’s blog, Damien said this about Joe’s article:

Thanks Jbsptn, the article does make some good points, however I get the feeling that it is talking of ‘God’ being something entirely separate.

perpetrate from what?
JBsptfn said…
I think you mean separate from what. Here's what Damien went on to say about that:

"I differ from that view, and hold that there is no separation. I would also add to it that if WE, at some very deep level, are actually the creator and are merely fulfilling some unimaginable need for infinite creative expression (hence undergoing the illusory game of splitting into seemingly separate entities - dissociating in Bernardo's terms), then 'evil' as we see it would appear in all its manifestions/permutations AND any "logical/rational/ethical/moral" thoughts or ideas we may entertain on what is evil, just etc (including even thoughts about how we are the creator at our deepest core) are simply misguided - for the mere fact that they are coming from a place of complete ignorance in the first place. Maybe that is why being silent or meditating is helpful - it cuts through all obsessive thought and can lead us to the place where this entire game arises - from awareness itself."
Gary said…
Joe,

So if the Creation story is an allegory, then I assume you accept evolution and natural selection as facts (the overwhelming majority of scientists do).

So, why do humans need a savior? Why don't gorillas need a savior?
Joe Hinman said…
As I already explained being lost is an existential condition it has nothing to do with specific moments in history. In the story the problem is they ate the fruit that gives them knowledge of good and evil. That knowledge is the issue; knowing good from evil. They pass from a state of ignorance to a state of knowing.So the myth is about coming of age, obtaining to a state where we can be held accountable for our actions.

The reason other animals don't have this problem is because their brains are not as complex, They don't have mind thus they don't have moral motions.
Joe Hinman said…
"I differ from that view, and hold that there is no separation. I would also add to it that if WE, at some very deep level, are actually the creator and are merely fulfilling some unimaginable need for infinite creative expression...

so he has a pantheistic assumption, he;'s right, my argument assumes desperation between God and all that is not God ie the created order,
Gary said…
So you believe that humans, as well as all other animals, evolved from lower life forms according to Darwinian evolution. However, humans evolved further than other animals, for some reason; they evolved far enough that they developed the ability to know good from evil. This ability to know good and evil brought upon them the responsibility to make a decision at some point in each of their lives, either for good (God) or for evil (Satan). If they choose good, they will spend eternity in Heaven. If they choose evil, they will spend eternity in Hell, a place of some form of eternal punishment.

Is that correct?

If so, it seems to me that allowing humans to develop the knowledge of good and evil was not a positive development, from the perspective of most humans, since most people on earth have not been Christian believers.

If Yahweh is omniscient, why would he allow this to happen? Why didn't he stop human development so that we cease to exist when we die, just like all other animals? Why create a system of "justice", that he knew in advance, would result in so many humans ending up experiencing eternal punishment?

And why would a perfect need to be loved by beings with a free will who had the knowledge of good and evil? Sounds like a very human emotion, not a characteristic of a perfect divine being.
Gary said…
...why would a perfect Being...

typo.
Joe Hinman said…
So you believe that humans, as well as all other animals, evolved from lower life forms according to Darwinian evolution. However, humans evolved further than other animals, for some reason; they evolved far enough that they developed the ability to know good from evil.

right that claim is totally compatible with Darwinian evolution, I think Darwin himself agreed that humans are ore highly evolved than others species on earth.

This ability to know good and evil brought upon them the responsibility to make a decision at some point in each of their lives, either for good (God) or for evil (Satan). If they choose good, they will spend eternity in Heaven. If they choose evil, they will spend eternity in Hell, a place of some form of eternal punishment.

Is that correct?

not exactly. Satan is sort of a metaphor,although there is strong that he is now building his administration for four years in American government. Spirit = mind (IMO) and consciousness is the result of brain complexity, at a certain level of complexity we have emergent quality of mind and that includes spirit and we are able to commune with God. We are able to love as a result of this complexity. When we have a void of love God is not present and we have evil.




If so, it seems to me that allowing humans to develop the knowledge of good and evil was not a positive development, from the perspective of most humans, since most people on earth have not been Christian believers.

why?



If Yahweh is omniscient, why would he allow this to happen? Why didn't he stop human development so that we cease to exist when we die, just like all other animals? Why create a system of "justice", that he knew in advance, would result in so many humans ending up experiencing eternal punishment?

who says it does? I have a link on that I'll give it if you will read it, essentually:

(1) hell is a metaphor or spiritual death so no hell as such,

(2) salvation only comes through Jesus but not through the church, the church is just a tool to promote the mission of Christ; people outside the church can be following Jesus even thought they don't know it's Jesus if they are seeking the good, see Romans 2:6-14/ and Acts 17:21-29




And why would a perfect need to be loved by beings with a free will who had the knowledge of good and evil? Sounds like a very human emotion, not a characteristic of a perfect divine being.

there's a link between being itself and love. God is loving in his nature because he is the ground of all being. The nature of love is to give love and to be loved in return. The more creatures who love the more love there is. But love requires free will, no free will no love.
Gary said…
Wow. I didn't realize that some of Cadre's authors are liberals. I am happy to hear it! If you are a universalist, Joe, I have no argument with you!

Peace.
Joe Hinman said…
Christian universalist
"If they do define evil (as HRG did), they rely on theist definitions, which is it’s own self-contradictory thing."
Nope, not a self contradiction. Christianity claims mutually exclusive properties of god and his supposed creations. To show the incoherent nature of these Christian theological assertions we should use theistic definitions.

God is asserted to be all good, all loving, all knowing, all powerful, in possession of free will and having imparted free will to human beings as well as being eternal and uncaused as well as outside of space and time while acting in a time sequence of events within space and time.

Sorry, one simply cannot make rational sense to reconcile all these asserted properties. They contradict each other in various ways making the whole package incoherent by it's own theistic definitions.

There is nothing self contradictory in hoisting Christianity upon its own petard.
Joe Hinman said…
God is asserted to be all good, all loving, all knowing, all powerful, in possession of free will and having imparted free will to human beings as well as being eternal and uncaused as well as outside of space and time while acting in a time sequence of events within space and time.


Sorry, one simply cannot make rational sense to reconcile all these asserted properties. They contradict each other in various ways making the whole package incoherent by it's own theistic definitions.


Wrong, they do not. The arguments that say they do are based upon atheist propagnda

There is nothing self contradictory in hoisting Christianity upon its own petard.


is if you don't know what you are talking about



none of the qualities you speak of above are contradictory. you must develop an argument about each one before i can answer it, you can't just assert opinion and expect that to be meaningful

Jason Pratt said…
Speaking as someone rather more conservative than Joe, and also a Christian universalist (since early 2000) -- I thought I remembered you being an annihilationist, Joe. Did you go to Christian universalism recently? Just curious. {g}

JRP
Joe Hinman said…
i am using the term differently than you do. Didn't want to bore Gary with a lot of technical distinctions.
Jason Pratt said…
Fair enough. But that's going to lead to the question of what Gary meant by "universalist" (which is connected to him suddenly being a lot more friendly to you -- although how he somehow didn't notice your "liberalism" despite all his comments including on your articles, boggles the mind {wry g}); compared to what you meant by the technical distinction of "Christian universalist"; compared to how you're using that term significantly differently than I (and other Christian universalists) do.

Insert irony as appropriate! {g}

JRP
Joe Hinman said…
he doesn't know anything about theology liberal or otherwise. he's just clicking on buzz words
Joe Hinman
" Wrong, they do not. The arguments that say they do are based upon atheist propagnda"


" is if you don't know what you are talking about"
Huh?


"you must develop an argument about each one before i can answer it,"
Hilarious, coming from a guy who can manage nothing better than a vapid cry of "atheist propaganda"
Joe Hinman said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Hinman said…
hey stardust I answered your stuff on the main blog section for tomarrow's post

here

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