Friday, September 4, 2009

Epicurus

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?

Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing?

Then he is malevolent.

Is he both able and willing?

Then whence cometh evil?

Is he neither able nor willing?

Then why call him God?

45 comments:

The Lion said...

Ah....this.

The flawed and one sided logic here is amazing, Mac. It assumes that God is either unwilling or incapable of preventing something. It neglects that we are the very cause of it and are given the ability to stop it if we like: free will.

God both can and cannot stop evil. Sure He is capable but to do so would violate one of His greatest gifts to His children: their ability to freely decide to be good or evil, to think, to choose. To choose to be good is far superior to being forced to be good via the inability to be bad.

We have only ourselves to blame for the evil deeds of this world.

mac said...

Surely you don't believe that, Lion?

What if someone evil infringes upon my free will?

I guess you come down on the unwilling side? Surely god would have stopped so many people from killing in HIS name. Surely he would have taken some of the hate speech out of HIS book....IF he could!

mac said...

And, so much of the evil is commited by HIS words, surely he must bear some responsibility!

Asylum Seeker said...

"Sure He is capable but to do so would violate one of His greatest gifts to His children: their ability to freely decide to be good or evil, to think, to choose. To choose to be good is far superior to being forced to be good via the inability to be bad."

Which is different from saying that he is unwilling/unable...how? Blaming us for the evil is all well and good, as is saying that chosen good is better than forced good, but an omniscient God would know those choices, and an omnipotent God could stop the evil choices of individuals from negatively affecting people who have made no such choices. Just because we are collectively at fault for "evil" does not mean that everyone among us deserves to become victim to it.

Tit for Tat said...

free will

It aint so, its limited will. ;0

Tit for Tat said...

You know the funny thing is "Sin" was not introduced by Adam. Afterall the snake was there first.

The Lion said...

Mac, to do so would be to contradict Free Will. Christians hold Free Will as our third greatest gift (Salvation, Creation, Free Will - in that order). I believe that God, in His wisdom, allows us to make choices. Those who make the right choices are rewarded. Those who make the wrong choices are not (I don't believe they are punished i.e. Hell, I believe they simply are not rewarded).

I believe God speaks to us - all of us. Some do not hear Him, some hear Him and equate it to another source. God tells us what He wants us to do. Some just refuse to listen (*cough*cough* hate filled hypocrits *cough*cough*)

As for wrongs commited in the "name of God" I wish it would be stopped. It angers me to my core when I hear preachers condemn homosexuals and call for their outcasting "in the name of God." Or when I see terrorists act "in the name of Allah." It is times like those that I wish Free Will would be taken away because, clearly, we cannot handle it.

Asylum, God does not break His Word. He gave us Free Will, He will not take it back. To alter the course of our choices would be to break His Word.

You are correct, no one deserves to be a victim of evil actions. I wish we, as a society, would stop what we are doing and change our course towards a more harmonious world. Sadly, that does not seem to be happening. And we cannot blame Him for that - only ourselves.

I never claimed God was Omniscient - at least not in the sense commonly used :) You'll find I am not your "typical" Christian.

mac said...

If your god knows what will happen before it happens, from where does our free will come?

According to christian literature, man was destinesd to fail. God made us imperfect, designed us for evil - then get's angry when we act on the very things he instilled in us.

The Lion said...

You misunderstand my belief. My God knows all possible choices and options I have. He knows the outcomes to each choice I can make. He knows the choice He wishes for me to make. He knows the choice I would make without Free Will. Outside influences, personal thoughts and experiences allow me to make a choice that may not be what He would desire for me. My Free Will is that He allows that and does not make the choice for me.

I have never seen Christian literature that claims God made us imperfect. God made us in His image - thus, perfect - but with Free Will and the ability to fail. We chose our actions, and still do today, and thus pay the consequences.

mac said...

It's called the Bible. The story of creation- Genesis.

If God knows what will happen in the future, he surely knows what choices we all will make. Knowing what the future holds rules out free will!

God made us in his image?
OR
We made god in our image?

What did god do with his new creation? He turned the evil Satan(another of his creations) loose on them. God could not control Satan, but man was supposed to resist such a powerful force? No!

God turned unstoppable evil loose on mankind.

Read the Bible, it's all here, if you but believe it.

The Lion said...

Mac, I love your sarcasm.

The Bible *does not* say we were created imperfect. You may interpret it that way, but that is not what it says.

God knows all possiblities for the future but cannot know which choice we will make. It is sort of like seeing all futures at once. He knows that if we make choice A, event B,C and D will happen.

God made us in His image and we then ascribe our image onto Him. It is why there are so many factions, so much anger and so much evil done in His name.

We all have a choice to make. We can resist evil if we choose. It may not be a fun, flashy life in the modern world, but it can be done.

What makes you think God could not control Satan? It is my belief that God made Satan to allow our Free Will. Again, we must choose to be good or we aren't really good.

The Lion said...

As for the Bible, do not put too much stock in the current form. Read the original translations - it is all *there.*

mac said...

I agree Lion. God could not control Satan.

Why, when not able to control Satan, did God turn him lose on mankind?

Satan rebelled against God and humanity was his reward?

I know about love, and I do not subject the objects of my affection to evil if I can avoid it. It seems God intentionally subjects HIS subjects to evil. Why, if god loves us, would he continually subject us to Satanic forces? If merely to test us, that shines God in a very sadistic light.

mac said...

Of course, I agree with the statements in a hypothetical way.

I agree as if God and Satan actually existed, which, of course, they don't :-)

The Lion said...

I did not say God could not control Satan. He created Satan and Satan is as he should be.

I think the confusion stems from not understanding Free Will in the sense that Christians understand it. God had to give us a choice. If you give your child no choice, then they aren't really behaving well - they are doing the only thing they know to do. Better to have them make the choice to behave well.

Without being subjected to evil and Sin, we cannot choose to avoid them and live the best life possible. We would be like the people of 1984 - unable to make real decisions and lacking of any sincerity.

mac said...

"I think the confusion stems from not understanding Free Will in the sense that Christians understand it"

Which is to say "mis-understand" it.

Of course, I'm using Webster for my understanding of words....
God has always known what we would do - does not equate free will no matter how it's rationalized.
IF God made man, he surely made man to fail. He set us up from the beginning. He knew all along that evil would prevail, yet he set things in motion anyway.

Surely, a god so disappointed in his creation as to kill everyone of them, can't be perfect?

mac said...

Yes, I make my own decisions.

BUT, this is not a gift from God. This is my mind working.

Going by the logic that our free will is a gift from God, what of people living in totalitarian societies ? Does God not shine his light of free will on those unfortunate bastards? What of theocracies? Does God not love those living there enough to grant them free will?

No! My will and desires are not God-given. Rights are not god-given. They were taken by the blood of my forefathers. So, shall I endeavor to keep those rights for which men fought and died. I will not allow their struggle to be nullified by Goddidit.

The Lion said...

You are arguing something I don't believe. I don't believe God knows what choice we will make, only the outcomes of all of our potential choices.

Your mind is a gift from God :)

Ah, see, you do misunderstand. It is Free Will in the choices that we make. Those choices do affect others. Just as in totalitarian societies. The choices of others are put upon us as well. The opporessed still have Free Will from God, but not from man.

Why would their struggle be nullified? My belief that God created us all and gave our brave forefathers the Free Will to choose to fight and die for our beloved rights does not belittle their acts.

You assign much blame to God for the acts of man. And yet refuse to assign glory to God for the acts of man. Do you not see the hypocrisy there?

mac said...

I would if I believed any of the god delusion.

I do not, however think there is an entity such as god. It just makes no sense.

As to god's glory, it would seem many religionists want God to have the glory, but cannot see anything wrong in the writings attributed to the same god....things like genocide, infanticide, hatred, jealousy, sever anger - all demonstrated by God in the Bible. No matter which interpretation one reads, God did that shit.

Of course, I cannot give credit to a non-entity. I might as well say Sasquatch deserves credit.
You see, if I rail against the Bible, it's merely a book review. Much like some nerdy types might like to pretend Star Trek characters are real, they really know better .

You must be having a lazy Saturday too :-)

Rita said...

I would argue that God is made in our image. For example, A religious persons(let's use Christianity as the example) image of what God entails would logically become more & more sophisticated as humans explore further & further into the cosmos & gain a better understanding of Science & what is really out there. My understanding is that Christian logic is based on the premise "God's word" is perfect & unchanging. if that is the case, it's not God who is making these determinations & adjustments. This is also why Christians are always having to reinterpret & adjust the Bible. Nothing spiritual about it. The God of the Bible is primitive because it was written by primitive & unscientific people.

The Lion said...

I am not talking about many religionists, I am talking about what I believe and what you state. You blame God (if there is a God) for the bad and yet give Him no credit (if He does exist) for the good.

Rita, "Christians" adjust the Bible to justify hatred. It is a shame and a blight on our faith. It is disgusting and sinful and ought to be something that is discussed more than it is.

mac said...

I blame religion for much bad, whether god exists or not still harm is done.

You want credit for good?
Ok, the gothic cathedrals of Europe are beautiful.

I do not give god credit for good because I do not believe any god exists. How can one give credit to an imaginary thing?

The Lion said...

And yet you blame Him for evil? If He exists, that is.

Yes, religion can bring out a very nasty side in us. That is a shame. But it can also bring people together, in a way nothing else does, to help each other.

And yes, the gothic cathedrals of Europe are very beautiful. Sinful, but beautiful.

mac said...

What is sinful about the cathedrals?

Are you saying archetecture is sinful? Or the history of the cathedrals?

oneblood said...

I have freewill in the sense that I have certain options, but I do not have all options.

Lion has given God the agency of creator, and in such a manner, a limiting factor in his/her freewill.

Lion did not decide which culture s/he was born into, neither height, nor facial structure, or any other things of real physical significance.

Following Lion's assertion one can only come to the logical conclusion that God created the first humans knowing that they would sin, and all others after would sin. He created the first humans knowing that they and noone else would ever be free from suffering.

In Lion's case God is actually the limiter of freewill not the giver of it.

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Rita said...

lion
When I was a born again Christian I had in my library many different versions of the Bible. Also, Strong's(?)Concordance & other references. I taught Sunday school(adult)& I was very diligent to be intellectually honest & teach with a clear conscience, meaning I vowed never to pout off about something I didn't believe or could make sense of myself. One reason I would cross reference the diff. versions is that sometimes a concept I'd be struggling with would be made clear by studying a different version.

I understood even as a Christian, to believe the Bible literally was foolish, because it was written by primitive people with out scientific understanding.

You say:
Rita, "Christians" adjust the Bible to justify hatred. It is a shame and a blight on our faith. It is disgusting and sinful and ought to be something that is discussed more than it is.

I suppose they do that, but my point is really about understanding it in a logical context.

You also said:
As for the Bible, do not put too much stock in the current form. Read the original translations - it is all *there.*

Could you elaborate on that?

Hey mac
Hope you don't mind me asking your resident Christian some questions. It's not often you find one willing to have his feet put to the fire. :)

mac said...

I suppose the call isn't mine to mind.

Lion is a good egg :-) I'm sure she'll do her best to answer any question you have.

I think more christians need to look at themselves and ask these questions. If their faith cannot hold up to questioning, what good is it?

The Lion said...

Mac, quite often their opulence is sinful. The money that built those elegant churches (and the Vatican) ought to have been used to better the world rather than create a pretty building. God doesn't need us to be in a beautiful building in order to worship Him. The greatest
form of worship is aiding your fellow man.

Oneblood, you are incorrect on my belief system. Please go back and reread what I have written earlier. Don't assume you understand.

Hi Rita! I agree. Taking the Bible - as a whole - literally is a bit foolish. Simply believing in Creation does not mean I take the 7day Creation story literally. I don't believe we were created out of dust, for instance.

(Factoid moment, when I was Catholic *eek* my mother taught Sunday School. We left the Church and she became Pagan. Hence my unique bumbling together of beliefs!)

What I mean when I say "Christians" adjust the Bible is that they interpret it in ways that allow for hatred. They take it out of context (as do Atheists who are bent on showing it as one big evil book) and use it to justify persecuting the "sinners."

Ahh, my stance on the current Bible. I was blessed, a few years back, to have access to a very old translation of the Bible and several other non Canon books. The differences between that version and any other version I have read today were astounding. Often it is just one or two words different but it changes the whole meaning.

For instance. The miracle of Jesus walking on water. In fact, in the older translation was that Jesus "crossed" the body of water. Not very miraculous. He could have used a boat. He could have swam. Also, during Creation, the word "day" for seven days is untranslated but is noted to mean, roughly, "cycle." Well then. How long is a cycle? We don't know. But not a few pages later there is a different word translated into "day" so we can assume a cycle is not a day. So, perhaps, Creation did (duh!) take longer than 7 days?

In addition, many questions people have about contradictions or missing stories are cleared up by reading the "lost" books like the Books of Adam and Eve, the Sophia of Jesus, the Book of Judas. Start with those. The Catholic church doesn't like them since they contradict MUCH of their teaching but....you know.

And Rita? I'm a girl! :) And I am (clearly) not your average Christian. And I certainly don't mind the questions.

oneblood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
oneblood said...

"Oneblood, you are incorrect on my belief system. Please go back and reread what I have written earlier. Don't assume you understand."

I am pretty sure I'm correct. Your beliefs are syncretic. I'm simply pointing out the logical conclusion of the Loving God as Creator/Judge in the context of freewill.

Being a former Christian, I understand that your beliefs have to be syncretic to a degree and that you do your best to reconcile them.

I think that as you go down the path of reason you will find yourself letting go of more and more given doctrine.

Take care Lion, I'm glad you're sticking to it. It takes courage and chutzpah :-) to reason through and defend your beliefs.

Tit for Tat said...

Often it is just one or two words different but it changes the whole meaning.(The Lion)

The problem is which "Christian" gets to decide which words are used? You have no method to show what is the "Proper" way to read the bible. Which unfortunately leaves it open to interpretation(and we know what happens with that).

Michael Lockridge said...

Wow! Great interaction! I feel I am late to the party. Again.

I studied Biblical Greek under a scholar named Goodrick for a year. Not nearly long enough to master the language, but enough to build confidence in the art of translation. Those ideas that hinge on a word or two are few, and I am comfortable with most English translations being sufficient for my own learning.

I know that my will, from my own perspective, seems to have a large degree of freedom. I can't imagine what it looks like from God's perspective. Probably a bit more directed, or at least strongly infuenced. Perhaps even determined. I really don't know.

As to the nature of God's love. Potter and clay. Forge and iron. Weaver and woven. Again, I haven't the perspective to judge. We are all a work in progress. If that seems to give God an out from our judgement as created things, so be it.

This has been fun. As iron sharpens iron, let us rub often against one another. We are all still being made.

Mike

The Lion said...

Oneblood, you disappoint me. You don't understand my views at all and yet you seem to want to imply that you do. Please, if you have questions: ask. Don't assume. But, it would seem from that attitude seeping from your post that you aren't interested in asking questions or seeking understanding - you feel you already know. And that is a real shame.

Tit for Tat, the original translations should be used. As Bibles were translated for "readability" many documented "mistakes" were made in translation. Why use "cycle" when "day" makes more sense to the average person? The problem is, "day" is not what the word translates to, "cycle" is and "cycle" means something very different than "day."

Michael, few yes, but important. These are major concepts that huge parts of the faith hinge on and someone, at some time, had the audacity to change how it was translated! Argh! Creation, Christ's miracles, homosexuality all of these are seeped in mistranslations (and sometimes outright LIES) that further the Church's agenda and only take us further from Truth.

The Lion said...

To be fair, and fully honest, I think the Amish are probably the closest to what Christianity ought to be: quiet, charity-oriented, faithful. I seek to be more like them in my faith, but, you know, with electricity.

Evangelicals are probably the furthest from what it should be. Hateful, angry, loud and self-serving.

Tit for Tat said...

To be fair, and fully honest,(The Lion)

If you were fair and honest maybe the better statement is "all Christians are delusional." Why pick which ones are better than the others. :)

The Lion said...

I don't believe that statement is correct, hence why I did not use it. And as for why I pick one over the other? Because I believe they are pretty close to having it right. They harm no one and work hard to make the world better - that is exactly what their faith should do.

But no, I don't think all of those with faith are delusional just as I don't think all Agnostics or Atheists are delusional. I also don't think those of other faiths are delusional. I believe everyone finds their own Truth and it isn't for me to judge what is true to them, only what is true to me.

mac said...

"The unexamined life is not worth living" - Socrates.


Lion,
Thanks for sharing your ideas with me (and everybody). I think you're OK :-)

I do not believe, but I know you do. I respect that you do not do so without questioning. You seem to have, at least, put a little thought into it.

Oh yeah, I have been tinking about something for which to give God credit.
My orgasmic cry.... "JESUS, woman, do that again" ;-)

Seriously, I will grant that religion has shaped our culture, sometimes for the good, Not often, but sometimes. And yes, those cathedrals are beautiful

The Lion said...

You are just terrible, Mac! But you know I love you for it. :)

rita said...

My final thought. As long as we keep our intellectual integrity intact & don't lose sight of truth & reality as our goal, we can move forward with a clear conscience, no matter how many little side trips we make along the way.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

Apparently God didn't know Satan's choices beforehand or else Satan could have never rebelled, nor could the satan/snake ever tempt Eve...

And then God wouldn't have had to punish all snakes forever for Satan's sin and let Satan off.

Honestly, how do people believe this silliness?

Saint Brian the Godless said...

And how did God punish all snakes? By making them crawl on their bellies forever.

So I guess the days of sticking their tail in their mouths and rolling everywhere were over forever then.

I mean, they're snakes, not lizards. No legs being the defining characteristic. The only way they could have gotten around before that would have been the belly thing...

Sooooooooo silly it hurts when I laugh at it.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

Oh, and this reminds me...

The animals in Eden talked, huh?

So they must have complained when Adam ate them...

Oh, maybe everyone ate fruit.

The 'gift of language' when given to an animal, is much more than just being able to talk. In order for an animal to talk, the animal must be able to reason. Language is like that. So being able to reason, how were they really different from the humans in the garden? Other than physically I mean?

mac said...

It's like that talking dog I read about in the classifieds, Brian.

"For sale: talking dog, $50"

I thought no way, I ahd to check that out for myself.
I arrived at the owners home and asked to see the dog. "He's in there watching TV" was the reply given me"

I went to the den, and sure enough, the dog was sitting on the couch watching The History Channel.
I asked, "So, you're supposed to be a taling dog, huh?"

To my astonishment he spoke, " Yeah, that's me" !
I said, "Shit, man. You're a taliking dog. What the heck are you doing in this dump?"

He told me everything, " Well, I started life out on a farm in Iowa. I was pretty content there living a simple life and all, but I showed promise as a rescue dog, so I was trained in that feild extensively. When the terrorist attacked NY, I was called there to help locate missing and still alive but burried people. I saved at least 25 people who were buried in the rubble. Then I was drafted into the Army, where I served in a meical capacity in Iraq. After that tour was over I went to work for NASA in R&D. I worked on a new propulsion system for the shuttle. My research has led to a much safer re-entry for the astronauts. Now, I'm retired, I just dabble in philosophy from time to time."

I couldn't believe my ears, this animal was incredible!

I asked the owner, "This animal is amazing. How can you ever part with such a beast?"

He looked around, closed the door and whispered softly to me, "Because that Motherfucker lies all the damn time !"

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