Evil

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Evil
« on: October 27, 2010, 12:15:23 AM »
I was thinking about Christianity and evil recently. Just wondering if you can tell me if this is right or not.

If god is infinitely good, how is it that he created a world in which it is possible for evil to exist? The free will argument isn't sufficient to refute this because everything originated from god supposedly. If God is infinitely good and all powerful, then it would be impossible for him to create a world in which evil could exist. In fact, evil would be a non-issue because it just wouldn't exist at all. To me it just seems like the buck stops here.
The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken. -Samuel Johnson

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Chris Spaghetti

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Re: Evil
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2010, 01:11:19 AM »
Logic used ARGUMENT OF EVIL it was a critical hit!
Christian's GOD used MYSTERIOUS WAYS. it was super-effective!
Logic became confused.

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Evil
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2010, 01:16:33 AM »
I already tried this with:

1. God is the omni-competent creator or the universe. (reductio)
a. Omni-competent entailing omnipotence, omniscience, and moral perfect.
b. Omnipotence to be define as that God can create any possible world he wants. Notes that this means he can't do anything contradictory, as contradictions are not possible in a possible world. IE making a round square.
c. Omniscience to be defined as God knowing all the truths that will happen in any world he makes.
d. Moral perfection is self-explanatory.


2. Because of his omni-potence, God can create any world he wants.

3. Thusly, God can, and would make the best possible world. (Moral Perfection)

4. So, God creates the best possible world.

5. Our world is not the best possible world. (Just look at all the evil and shit!)

6. So, God created the best possible world, and our world is the best possible world. (Contradiction OMG!!!)

7. Thus, (1) is false, and God does not exist.



Raist replied that God must just like harming us, and we must just be incorrect about what we think is right and wrong. (Despite God showing disapproval numerous times throughout the bible)

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Chris Spaghetti

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Re: Evil
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2010, 01:33:31 AM »
This reminds me of a quote from Sister Miriam Godwinson from Alpha Centauri:

"Some would ask, how could a perfect God create a universe filled with so much that is evil. They have missed a greater conundrum: why would a perfect God create a universe at all? "

Re: Evil
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2010, 01:59:06 AM »
Yea you're right. I hadn't even considered that.
The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken. -Samuel Johnson

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Vindictus

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Re: Evil
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2010, 02:58:23 AM »
This reminds me of a quote from Sister Miriam Godwinson from Alpha Centauri:

"Some would ask, how could a perfect God create a universe filled with so much that is evil. They have missed a greater conundrum: why would a perfect God create a universe at all? "

Why would a greater being of any kind create a Universe?

It's not much of a question, really.

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Lorddave

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Re: Evil
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2010, 03:27:41 AM »
Your assuming evil is an absolute.

Evil is the opposite of good. Good is what God commands. Therefore evil is simply doing what god doesn't want you to do. Basically disobeying God. So free will creates evil by simply giving us a choice to disobey God.
I am a terrible person and I am a typical Blowhard Liberal for being wrong about Bom.

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Hazbollah

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Re: Evil
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2010, 03:35:49 AM »
If god wanted us to be God-fearing robots, he wouldn't have bothered and just stuck to heaven, after all, those angels and whatnot are pretty pious. He wants us to choose our own path, be it right or wrong. This life is not perfect, I don't know where you get the idea that it is supposed to be, either.
Always check your tackle- Caerphilly school of Health. If I see an innuendo in my post, I'll be sure to whip it out.

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Lorddave

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Re: Evil
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2010, 04:25:14 AM »
If god wanted us to be God-fearing robots, he wouldn't have bothered and just stuck to heaven, after all, those angels and whatnot are pretty pious. He wants us to choose our own path, be it right or wrong. This life is not perfect, I don't know where you get the idea that it is supposed to be, either.

1. Angels do have free will.  Lucifer was able to rebel against God. 
2. This life being perfect is given to us from the Bible.  Had Adam and Eve not eaten of the forbidden fruit and gained the knowledge of good and evil (ie. the knowledge of a choice) we'd have a perfect life, be perfect, and our entire society wouldn't exist.
I am a terrible person and I am a typical Blowhard Liberal for being wrong about Bom.

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Benocrates

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Re: Evil
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2010, 06:31:54 AM »
Easy answer: The greatest happiness can only come through the overcoming of suffering. This demonstrates, however, that there is a cosmic order that God would be subject to. This limits his omnipotence.
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Get the fuck over it.

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ﮎingulaЯiτy

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Re: Evil
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2010, 07:10:49 AM »
Your assuming evil is an absolute.

Evil is the opposite of good. Good is what God commands. Therefore evil is simply doing what god doesn't want you to do. Basically disobeying God. So free will creates evil by simply giving us a choice to disobey God.
So god didn't create nor intend evil?
If I was asked to imagine a perfect deity, I would never invent one that suffers from a multiple personality disorder. Christians get points for originality there.

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Thork

Re: Evil
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2010, 07:27:26 AM »
This reminds me of a quote from Sister Miriam Godwinson from Alpha Centauri:

"Some would ask, how could a perfect God create a universe filled with so much that is evil. They have missed a greater conundrum: why would a perfect God create a universe at all? "

Why would a greater being of any kind create a Universe?

It's not much of a question, really.
Maybe the universe was a weapon? The big bang, merely a bomb and we are its fallout. Not created by a good loving God, but one who is busy trying to kick the ass of a rival God. ???

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Eddy Baby

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Re: Evil
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2010, 07:43:01 AM »
I don't even slightly agree.

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Evil
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2010, 08:01:23 AM »
Your assuming evil is an absolute.

Evil is the opposite of good. Good is what God commands. Therefore evil is simply doing what god doesn't want you to do. Basically disobeying God. So free will creates evil by simply giving us a choice to disobey God.

So you are saying that free will implies you are guaranteed to do evil? Doesn't sound like free will to me.

God could still have made a world where everyone chooses freely, and chooses freely to do good every time.


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Thork

Re: Evil
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2010, 08:21:22 AM »
Your assuming evil is an absolute.

Evil is the opposite of good. Good is what God commands. Therefore evil is simply doing what god doesn't want you to do. Basically disobeying God. So free will creates evil by simply giving us a choice to disobey God.

So you are saying that free will implies you are guaranteed to do evil? Doesn't sound like free will to me.

God could still have made a world where everyone chooses freely, and chooses freely to do good every time.



Maybe it is not possible to be evil. Evil is only an action that someone else doesn't like.
Example. I go next door, kill the children and have sex my my neighbours wife. Most people would put that down as being fairly evil. But Polar bears do just this. Killing cubs to mate with females giving their genetics a better chance. Now whilst this is a good thing for the 'rapist murdering' polar bear, it is not good for the dead cubs, female or male that fathered the cubs. But it is nature. No one really accuses animals of being inherently evil. They are merely following the genetic instructions that has made their species strong. Now whilst we have greater capacity to reason than a polar bear, we like polar bears are hard wired to be ultimately selfish. It ensures our species survival. If a man shot another man, because he was having an affair with his wife, its not evil. Its his selfish need to protect his own interests. Should a banker steal millions from tax payers its not evil. He's just ensuring his family and himself are provided for as best as possible. Its greed, but is it evil? He wouldn't see it that way, nor would his family. It is the losers in a situation that say something is evil.
Adolf Hitler is a good example of someone who was allegedly evil. The Jews would certainly agree. But would he see his actions as evil, or was he selfishly ensuring his own political success, and giving an advantage to people of his culture by slaughtering those of another culture. There are only finite resources and wealth. Better his people had them than others? I'm not suggesting what he did was right. But is it evil? Is it any different to chimps raiding other groups of chimps in the African forests and killing them so they can have the best territories.

In most situations there are winners and losers. The losers who can do nothing about this, claim the acts are evil. Surely those acts are selfish, but not evil. Maybe being evil isn't possible in our universe and so our universe is perfect. For you to be evil, your action would have to have to be unselfish and harmful. Bringing in gratification, amusement and gain, it is hard to see how any act can be evil.

I'll await the flames ...   ;D

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Chris Spaghetti

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Re: Evil
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2010, 08:33:06 AM »
I think it depends on the definition of evil. I would define it as 'the conscious decision to increase the suffering to others' by this definition the polar bear would not be evil whereas Hitler would.

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ﮎingulaЯiτy

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Re: Evil
« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2010, 10:09:04 AM »
Your assuming evil is an absolute.

Evil is the opposite of good. Good is what God commands. Therefore evil is simply doing what god doesn't want you to do. Basically disobeying God. So free will creates evil by simply giving us a choice to disobey God.

So you are saying that free will implies you are guaranteed to do evil? Doesn't sound like free will to me.

God could still have made a world where everyone chooses freely, and chooses freely to do good every time.



Maybe it is not possible to be evil. Evil is only an action that someone else doesn't like.
Example. I go next door, kill the children and have sex my my neighbours wife. Most people would put that down as being fairly evil. But Polar bears do just this. Killing cubs to mate with females giving their genetics a better chance. Now whilst this is a good thing for the 'rapist murdering' polar bear, it is not good for the dead cubs, female or male that fathered the cubs. But it is nature. No one really accuses animals of being inherently evil. They are merely following the genetic instructions that has made their species strong. Now whilst we have greater capacity to reason than a polar bear, we like polar bears are hard wired to be ultimately selfish. It ensures our species survival. If a man shot another man, because he was having an affair with his wife, its not evil. Its his selfish need to protect his own interests. Should a banker steal millions from tax payers its not evil. He's just ensuring his family and himself are provided for as best as possible. Its greed, but is it evil? He wouldn't see it that way, nor would his family. It is the losers in a situation that say something is evil.
Adolf Hitler is a good example of someone who was allegedly evil. The Jews would certainly agree. But would he see his actions as evil, or was he selfishly ensuring his own political success, and giving an advantage to people of his culture by slaughtering those of another culture. There are only finite resources and wealth. Better his people had them than others? I'm not suggesting what he did was right. But is it evil? Is it any different to chimps raiding other groups of chimps in the African forests and killing them so they can have the best territories.

In most situations there are winners and losers. The losers who can do nothing about this, claim the acts are evil. Surely those acts are selfish, but not evil. Maybe being evil isn't possible in our universe and so our universe is perfect. For you to be evil, your action would have to have to be unselfish and harmful. Bringing in gratification, amusement and gain, it is hard to see how any act can be evil.

I'll await the flames ...   ;D

Hmm. The universe is only morally balanced if morals are a subjective invention. A god dictating absolute rights and consequential wrongs actually throws things out of order.
If I was asked to imagine a perfect deity, I would never invent one that suffers from a multiple personality disorder. Christians get points for originality there.

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Evil
« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2010, 10:38:09 AM »
I think it depends on the definition of evil. I would define it as 'the conscious decision to increase the suffering to others' by this definition the polar bear would not be evil whereas Hitler would.

I would agree with the definition. So why didn't God just create a world where nobody decided to increase the suffering of others.  ???

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Thork

Re: Evil
« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2010, 12:10:27 PM »
I think it depends on the definition of evil. I would define it as 'the conscious decision to increase the suffering to others' by this definition the polar bear would not be evil whereas Hitler would.

I would agree with the definition. So why didn't God just create a world where nobody decided to increase the suffering of others.  ???
I think this was the point I was clumsily trying to make. Suffering is a consequence of loss. Loss is a negative, gain a positive of whatever commodity you look at. Whenever you change the balance of anything, wealth, who's genes are successful, whatever, there are winners and losers. To create a universe where no one ever loses, is to create a universe in which nothing ever happens. No life, no events in that life, no loss incurred by anyone in this life.
It is easy to say why didn't God make an abundance of everything, but if that was the case, nothing would be worth anything. No one would ever get off their backside to make anything happen. We'd all have everything already. Again stagnation. The fact you can change things, that events (even those that seem unfair) occur, and that life is not stagnant is just further example of the perfection we enjoy. Variety is necessary for perfection.

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ﮎingulaЯiτy

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Re: Evil
« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2010, 12:16:42 PM »
I'm inclined to agree, but only if we hold the imperfections of humans constant.
If I was asked to imagine a perfect deity, I would never invent one that suffers from a multiple personality disorder. Christians get points for originality there.

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Thork

Re: Evil
« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2010, 12:21:14 PM »
I'm inclined to agree, but only if we hold the imperfections of humans constant.
I don't understand the caveat in that sentence. Could you elaborate?

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Evil
« Reply #21 on: October 27, 2010, 03:44:23 PM »
I think it depends on the definition of evil. I would define it as 'the conscious decision to increase the suffering to others' by this definition the polar bear would not be evil whereas Hitler would.

I would agree with the definition. So why didn't God just create a world where nobody decided to increase the suffering of others.  ???
I think this was the point I was clumsily trying to make. Suffering is a consequence of loss. Loss is a negative, gain a positive of whatever commodity you look at. Whenever you change the balance of anything, wealth, who's genes are successful, whatever, there are winners and losers. To create a universe where no one ever loses, is to create a universe in which nothing ever happens. No life, no events in that life, no loss incurred by anyone in this life.
It is easy to say why didn't God make an abundance of everything, but if that was the case, nothing would be worth anything. No one would ever get off their backside to make anything happen. We'd all have everything already. Again stagnation. The fact you can change things, that events (even those that seem unfair) occur, and that life is not stagnant is just further example of the perfection we enjoy. Variety is necessary for perfection.

There can be winners and losers without people doing evil against each other. Beating someone at a game of chess is not an evil act. Murdering someone is.

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Thork

Re: Evil
« Reply #22 on: October 27, 2010, 04:04:10 PM »
I think it depends on the definition of evil. I would define it as 'the conscious decision to increase the suffering to others' by this definition the polar bear would not be evil whereas Hitler would.

I would agree with the definition. So why didn't God just create a world where nobody decided to increase the suffering of others.  ???
I think this was the point I was clumsily trying to make. Suffering is a consequence of loss. Loss is a negative, gain a positive of whatever commodity you look at. Whenever you change the balance of anything, wealth, who's genes are successful, whatever, there are winners and losers. To create a universe where no one ever loses, is to create a universe in which nothing ever happens. No life, no events in that life, no loss incurred by anyone in this life.
It is easy to say why didn't God make an abundance of everything, but if that was the case, nothing would be worth anything. No one would ever get off their backside to make anything happen. We'd all have everything already. Again stagnation. The fact you can change things, that events (even those that seem unfair) occur, and that life is not stagnant is just further example of the perfection we enjoy. Variety is necessary for perfection.

There can be winners and losers without people doing evil against each other. Beating someone at a game of chess is not an evil act. Murdering someone is.
See that's my point. Is murdering someone a crime against the universe or something we deem evil because something bad has happened to someone?
I mean avoiding the obvious examples like a beaten woman murdering her abusive husband after 20 years isn't really evil. But even killing your own mother for an inheritance could be rationalised as a selfish act for your gain, and hence part of your evolutionary hard-wiring. Many animals 'murder' each other over females or territory or just out of aggression.
My next door neighbours cat murders things purely for fun. It brings back toads, birds, mice. It doesn't eat them. It just murders them.
The cat isn't evil. Its just following nature.
Just because man can make conscious decisions, I don't think makes the act evil. You are still doing the same thing, but just reasoning it to a higher level.
I think something could only be truly evil if you had nothing to gain whatsoever, but as mentioned even self-gratification is a selfish act. And then there is a caveat. If someone does kill someone for no reason at all, ie it makes no sense, that person is a 'psychopath'. Someone mentally ill, because the rest of us reason. And the mentally ill aren't evil. They are just not right in the head.
I still go back to evil being a term used by those who experience loss, but 'evil' is not possible. And the loss is part of the perfection as outlined earlier. I don't think you can remove 'evil' or loss from a universe and then have it perfect. I'll put that down to omnipotence. It was just figured out from the start.

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Evil
« Reply #23 on: October 27, 2010, 05:41:51 PM »
I think you are taking this from a secular perspective to discuss Evil, which is the wrong one since we are talking about God.


See that's my point. Is murdering someone a crime against the universe or something we deem evil because something bad has happened to someone?

Well since we are talking about the Problem of Evil in regards to God, and God condemns murder, than yes, I suppose it is a crime against the universe.

I mean avoiding the obvious examples like a beaten woman murdering her abusive husband after 20 years isn't really evil.

According to God both acts are evil, regardless of the justification.

But even killing your own mother for an inheritance could be rationalised as a selfish act for your gain, and hence part of your evolutionary hard-wiring. Many animals 'murder' each other over females or territory or just out of aggression.
My next door neighbours cat murders things purely for fun. It brings back toads, birds, mice. It doesn't eat them. It just murders them.
The cat isn't evil. Its just following nature.

From the Christian perspective Humans are above animals, and as such we shouldn't lump us with them.

Just because man can make conscious decisions, I don't think makes the act evil. You are still doing the same thing, but just reasoning it to a higher level.
I think something could only be truly evil if you had nothing to gain whatsoever, but as mentioned even self-gratification is a selfish act. And then there is a caveat. If someone does kill someone for no reason at all, ie it makes no sense, that person is a 'psychopath'. Someone mentally ill, because the rest of us reason. And the mentally ill aren't evil. They are just not right in the head.

Crimes of passion do not require people to be psychopaths, now do crime affiliated murders. Other forms of evil can come from perfectly sane people, for example identity theft and thieving.

I still go back to evil being a term used by those who experience loss, but 'evil' is not possible. And the loss is part of the perfection as outlined earlier. I don't think you can remove 'evil' or loss from a universe and then have it perfect. I'll put that down to omnipotence. It was just figured out from the start.

Evil doesn't have to be removed, people just choose not to do it. Just as I choose not to kill or rape people freely, what if everyone choose that?

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Thork

Re: Evil
« Reply #24 on: October 27, 2010, 05:48:31 PM »
I just don't see evil as being an imperfection of the universe. Excuse the pun, but its a necessary evil. I think the universe would be imperfect without what you describe as evil.
I can't unrationalise (its not a word but its what I want to say) the idea of evil, being attributed to loss. And loss to part of a changing universe. No losses, no change. No change, a pretty shitty universe.

Re: Evil
« Reply #25 on: October 27, 2010, 06:07:46 PM »
If god wanted us to be God-fearing robots, he wouldn't have bothered and just stuck to heaven, after all, those angels and whatnot are pretty pious. He wants us to choose our own path, be it right or wrong. This life is not perfect, I don't know where you get the idea that it is supposed to be, either.

1. Angels do have free will.  Lucifer was able to rebel against God. 
2. This life being perfect is given to us from the Bible.  Had Adam and Eve not eaten of the forbidden fruit and gained the knowledge of good and evil (ie. the knowledge of a choice) we'd have a perfect life, be perfect, and our entire society wouldn't exist.

Not all Christians believe in free will. Lucifer was fulfilling a purpose in God's plan by virtue of the fact that God knew he would rebel but still decided to create him.

I just don't see evil as being an imperfection of the universe. Excuse the pun, but its a necessary evil. I think the universe would be imperfect without what you describe as evil.
I can't unrationalise (its not a word but its what I want to say) the idea of evil, being attributed to loss. And loss to part of a changing universe. No losses, no change. No change, a pretty shitty universe.

I think you've hit on something here. The universe is perfect insofar as that the universe we live in fits perfectly into God's will, which is ultimately his own glorification.

Thus the problem exists in the definition of perfection, i.e., point number 5:

5. Our world is not the best possible world. (Just look at all the evil and shit!)
There is evidence for a NASA conspiracy. Please search.

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Thork

Re: Evil
« Reply #26 on: October 28, 2010, 03:17:18 AM »
Well then taking into account what you have said Canadark, what is to say that the universe isn't absolutely perfect. It just wasn't designed for you. We are all part of it, but for God's purpose or for whoever he built it for, it is perfect.
I could build the perfect battery chicken farm. Cleaning takes care of itself, all the feeding is automated, the chickens are delicious, it has tiny running costs and maximum profits. Every thing I could imagine is taken care of. But would the chickens think it is perfect?

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Evil
« Reply #27 on: October 28, 2010, 09:52:05 AM »
Well then taking into account what you have said Canadark, what is to say that the universe isn't absolutely perfect. It just wasn't designed for you. We are all part of it, but for God's purpose or for whoever he built it for, it is perfect.
I could build the perfect battery chicken farm. Cleaning takes care of itself, all the feeding is automated, the chickens are delicious, it has tiny running costs and maximum profits. Every thing I could imagine is taken care of. But would the chickens think it is perfect?

This is what I have been trying to say. If God wanted the universe a certain way, he can make it that way. (i.e. Omnipotence)

But God says plenty of times in the bible that he disapproves what is going on in the world. So either he cannot make a world as he wishes, and therefore is not omnipotent, or he doesn't care to, so he doesn't have moral perfection.

The perfect world isn't just our standard, it is God's. And considering God considered this world shitty enough to kill almost all of it's inhabitant, he must not have thought it was perfect.

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Thork

Re: Evil
« Reply #28 on: October 28, 2010, 10:30:13 AM »
Well at this point I am going to fragment the thread. The topic is Evil and one does not need to be a practising Christian to have opinions on Evil.

I do not believe in Religion. None of them. I do how ever believe there is a design and a creator. I also believe that the Universe is perfection. I am but a mortal in it, and have no capacity to imagine how it could be any better as a Universe.

But God says plenty of times in the bible
Let us substitute that for The people that wrote the Bible attributed the following words to God ...
Whilst a favourite line might be "This is the Word of God" I find it hard to believe he would have put so much effort into ancient peoples talking to them individually on a daily basis, but that He wouldn't go on the Letterman Show and give a quick interview on TV to convert Billions in one go for modern times.

I also don't believe the 'Creator' gives a damn about any of us. It would be like me paying consequence to a germ on my arm. We are insignificantly small, our life times are a blink of the eye in the cosmos, and there is no deed one could do that would have any bearing on anything in a galactic sense. We are not individually important to the universe. The universe does not care about us. We are just lucky to be in it. Life was designed. You were not.

But I also think if a God wasn't happy with his universe, he wouldn't keep it. If you wish to extrapolate that he is omnipotent then he would have foreseen the imperfection and the universe would never have been.

Coming full circle, your deeds that are evil are of no consequence. God is not interested in one germ killing another germ. These are just actions that happen. They are not crimes against the universe. The universe continues unaffected.

Back to Adolf Hitler. He was responsible for the death of millions. In a few million years time did his actions make any difference? Genes get mixed, borders will change, religions rise and fall, even our species might change. At the end of it all the sun will just swallow the earth anyway.

Evil is just a man made attribute, given by the losers in a situation, who may not be able to do anything about their fate. It doesn't mean anything to God. I don't believe a person can sin. Because sinning means God is actually interested in you. I don't think he is. I don't think we are that important. And therefore I stand by my post that I don't think it is possible to be Evil in the eyes of God.

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Blanko

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Re: Evil
« Reply #29 on: October 28, 2010, 01:16:06 PM »
Good cannot exist without evil.

Moral cannot exist without evil.

Therefore, evil is necessary, and perfection cannot be achieved without evil.