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God is evil


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Showing 1-25 of 189 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 14, 2012 8:58:05 PM PDT
Most religion depend upon a notion of God that is omnipotent and omniscient (all powerful and all knowing).

The strict defition of this is that God must control everything. This would include Satan, Hitler and every act of man. This makes God th creator of evil.

I realize there is an argument that free will exists but again the religious defintion means God could intervene if desired. The implication is that God is guilty of deliberate negligence and hence culpable for all evil even if free will exists.

If you believe in an all-good god as well then you have just disproved yourself.

The saying "God works in mysterious ways" simply permits evil on the grounds God permitted it. A non evil God would find another way.

So God either creates all evil or negligently fails to stop all evil - which amounts to the same thing

Before anybody points it out - yes I fail to define evil - but let's just leave it as a bad thing happening to somebody either via nature or some other human being.

A truly omnipotent God would have no need for Heaven as Earth would already be like that.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 14, 2012 10:23:47 PM PDT
Good points!

Posted on Apr 14, 2012 10:42:18 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 14, 2012 10:42:59 PM PDT
JMM says:
Yes, very good points.

Many people around me are religious, but I could never understand it - I guess I haven't ever had a need for it.

A lot of people would refute your claims, stating that God does not intervene in our affairs. But didn't someone say recently that the tornadoes (or maybe it was fires?) were God's punishment for all the sex that the gay people were having? Well, if that's the case then it appears God only intervenes to harm us rather than help us. And that's not any God I would want to believe in.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 14, 2012 10:52:34 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 14, 2012 10:53:03 PM PDT
Mr. T. Pearce,

I do not see how "The strict definition of this is that God must control everything". As far as I understand the words, omnipotent and omniscient means "x can know and do whatever is logically possible". But it appears that God would have to know everything that is possible to know, but it does not appear that being able to do anything that is logically possible means that they must control everything. You might have to flesh that one out.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2012 8:08:48 AM PDT
>"x can know and do whatever is logically possible"

It must mean, at least, that if it was "logically possible" for God to cause the 9/11 hijackers to have flat tires on their way to the airport, so that they missed their flights, benevolence would demand that he intervene and bring about this outcome. The religionist's lame excuse is that God could not interfere with the hijackers' free will. Very well, then we have the spectacle of an omnipotent and omniscient being creating a world in which he knows that 9/11 and things like it will happen (or are logically likely to happen), and still goes ahead and creates it anyway, but then lamely steps aside because he "mustn't interfere." That in itself is not merely evil; it's disgusting.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2012 9:25:21 AM PDT
Frank Paris says:
This is an ancient, well known argument that is still agonized over by Christian theologians. Witness the current issue (Volume 10, Number 1, February 2012) of the Routledge journal, *Theology and Science*, which is almost entirely devoted to analyzing this Christian theological contradiction. The bottom line is that, as usual, the Christian theologians contributing to this issue are dumbfounded by the contradictions.

The idea of an omnipotent God that has the possibility of interrupting the causal flow of the natural order just seems too ingrained into Christian thought to entertain the consequences of the notion that omnipotence is an illogical and hence impossible attribute of God. But this is precisely what modern *process theology* faces squarely, and in doing so revitalizes a concept of the benevolent God that has been part of the human experience for thousands of years, especially in the experience of the mystics. Charles Hartshorne, one of the founders of 20th century process theology, wrote a popular book entitled *Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes* that works out the theology of this God of historical mystical experience.

For process theology, the arguments you present in your OP are a dead issue. The God of process theology is omniscient about everything that happens in the universe, yet is effective only immanently, as a *lure* towards his/her wisdom, knowledge, and beauty, in every decision that every individual makes throughout the history of the universe, and God's activity is intimately involved in all times and places (unlike the usual view of the Christian God who only occasionally gets involved, and necessarily "miraculously"). But the individual experiences this lure only as one "temptation" in competition with all the other temptations of the world, and it is up to the individual to decide among all these influences, usually forming a compromising synthesis of the various pulls this way and that.

Dead issue or not, naturally many Christian theologians regards this idea of God as heretical and are "stuck" in the belief that God is omnipotent and can work occasional miracles. But as long as you are persuaded by the arguments of the OP, you should realize that you're being determined by specifically Christian theological ideas of God that have also been criticized by a few notable Christian thinkers and mystics throughout history (such as Nicholas of Cusa). It's just that the idea of the omnipotent God is so deeply imbued in mainstream Christian thought that it seems too much to give up, even in the face of the contradictions and actual limitations it places on God's involvement in the world. So have at it, all you skeptics of the Christian God. Just understand that what you're criticizing isn't the only game in town.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2012 9:39:39 AM PDT
Mickey says:
JJM,

Yes, and if God created this mess knowing the result he's already intervened.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2012 10:50:44 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 15, 2012 11:01:06 AM PDT
Ashwood says:
Frank Paris says: The idea of an omnipotent God that has the possibility of interrupting the causal flow of the natural order just seems too ingrained into Christian thought to entertain the consequences of the notion that omnipotence is an illogical and hence impossible attribute of God. But this is precisely what modern *process theology* faces squarely, and in doing so revitalizes a concept of the benevolent God that has been part of the human experience for thousands of years

Ash : Some questions.

If God does not perform miracles, then this is definitely not Christianity. No flood, no ten commandments given to Moses, no Adam and Eve, no resurrection of JC.... all of those are complete myths, correct?

Is the God that created earth and all the trillions of stars INCAPABLE of intervening to prevent evil or does he simple choose not to? If he chooses not the intervene then that doesn't absolve him of evil, if he is incapable then what happened to all the power he used to create entire galaxies?

Does God know the future with %100 percent accuracy? The earth is 4 Billion years old much of that time without any life, if God doesn't know the future and doesn't intervene then it was only random chance that something like humans evolved at all. If God does know the future, then by setting up a line of dominoes and knocking over the first one, he is responsible for all the evil dominoes that fall because he knew his actions would cause them to fall.

Frank Paris says: But the individual experiences this lure only as one "temptation" in competition with all the other temptations of the world

Ash : If God doesn't intervene or even communicate clearly enough that his followers can agree on what he is saying, then how do you know he is benevolent? There are evolutionary reasons for good behavior in social animals (even self-sacrifice, which helps those who share your genes survive to breed), so how do you know that evolution is not the only 'lure' towards good, while God's lure temps us to murder-suicides, war, and destructive greed (all for the entertainment value)?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2012 10:52:47 AM PDT
John M. Lane says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2012 10:58:10 AM PDT
Mickey says:
How can he be the solution when he created evil?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2012 11:01:41 AM PDT
John M. Lane says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2012 11:07:27 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 15, 2012 11:12:03 AM PDT
Mickey says:
Did God create Adolf Hitler?

Did God create Anne Frank?

Did God create Susan Atkins?

Did God create Sharon Tate?

Posted on Apr 15, 2012 11:08:49 AM PDT
If you wish to believe there is a god who is not evil then take the "Deist" point of view. God creates a universe then steps back and lets it play out. This doesn't make him evil just not too caring.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2012 11:12:08 AM PDT
John M. Lane says:
God created you, me and all the people you listed, Mickey. He created us with the capability to choose good, or evil.

He loves us, and wants us to choose good. Some of us don't.

He loves you, Mickey. He's with you even now. Ask Him yourself if you don't believe me.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2012 11:15:29 AM PDT
Mickey says:
Did Anne Frank choose evil because she was born to Jewish parents and thus rejected Jesus?

Did Susan Atkins choose good because she stabbed to death a pregnant woman who was begging for mercy and then became a born-again Christian?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2012 11:19:23 AM PDT
John M. Lane says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2012 11:23:25 AM PDT
Mickey says:
Do you believe Anne Frank will go to hell because she rejected Jesus?

Do you believe Susan Atkins will go to heaven because she accepted Jesus?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2012 11:30:26 AM PDT
John M. Lane says:
Hello Mickey,

I'm a Christian and I pray for Anne Frank. I'm not in any position to judge her, however.

Where she goes after her murder by the Nazis is the decision of the Savior, who was Himself a Jew.

The same is true for Susan Atkins, although I don't feel sympathy for murderers.

If it was my call, Anne Frank would be in Heaven and Susan Atkins would be treading brimstone with the other murderers. God loves her and can save her.

I don't and I can't.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2012 1:09:19 PM PDT
Frank Paris says:
"If God does not perform miracles, then this is definitely not Christianity. No flood, no ten commandments given to Moses, no Adam and Eve, no resurrection of JC...."

Not literally. But they can have mythological meaning, even profound mythological meaning. But personally, I gave up my dependence on Christian mythology decades ago, and consider myself a free thinker regarding religion. BTW, all true process theologians are religious freethinkers. It's part of the basic presuppositions of the movement, and why it continues to grow as a theological movement. Nevertheless, there are process theologians who regard themselves as Christian, even Charles Hartshorne, who argued against personal immortality, and so naturally heaven and hell as well. I know a "good Catholic" who is a regular communicant who never goes to confession. She's also an ardent feminist who believes in Free Choice and Birth Control. More power to her, I say. In fact, she represents any possible salvation the Catholic Church has.

"all of those are complete myths, correct?"

Myths certainly. But no myth can be complete. Myths point to incomplete understanding of religious truths, which can never be encapsulated in either theology or myth.

"Is the God that created earth and all the trillions of stars INCAPABLE of intervening to prevent evil or does he simple choose not to?"

There's a lot of presuppositions in your question. The way I view it, God is the source of the fundamental physical laws of the universe. Those laws over time produce the high level structures in the universe, including galactic clusters, planets, and any animals that might arise through natural evolution.

To directly answer your question, according to process thought, God is *incapable* of intervening to prevent evil. The Christian theology that he simply chooses not to intervene lands us right back into all the paradoxes of the OP, which you seem to understand.

"if he is incapable then what happened to all the power he used to create entire galaxies?"

The fundamental laws of nature spring from God's essential nature. Galaxies are just the working out of those laws. So God doesn't have *any* external, coercive power over the movement of matter. He/she can only "suggest" movements *internally* to individuals, movements towards the realization of his/her will. God self-consciously from *within* influences individuals complex enough to respond to mental promptings. It is then the individuals themselves that move matter. God only "takes control" of the spirit within individuals.

"Does God know the future with %100 percent accuracy?"

According to process thought, no, because individuals have freedom to choose from the mix of influences impinging on it from the lure of God, from its past history, and from the current environment. God cannot predict with 100% accuracy what an individual will do in any particular circumstance, although knowing everything it is possible to know, he'd be better at making predictions than finite individuals such as us. But there is always a measure of indeterminacy in the actions of individuals, blind spots even for God. The future in no way, shape or form is predetermined and hence strictly speaking can't be predicted with 100% accuracy, *in principle*. All from "canonical" process thought.

"if God doesn't know the future and doesn't intervene then it was only random chance that something like humans evolved at all."

Up to a point, this is correct, the point being where natural evolution has produced animals that can respond to evolutionary sexual selection, or have a sense of beauty. At that point, God can get in there an influence sexual selection and to that extent draw lines of evolution in certain directions over periods of millions of years. When evolution produces something like a shrew, there's the raw material that God could "hone" over the ages, through sexual selection, towards primates with opposable thumbs and large brains. If dinosaurs had not been wiped out, there might now be a dinosaur species with such characteristics that produced technology, science, culture, and religion.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2012 1:13:02 PM PDT
Frank Paris says:
Then there's the process view of deity, who created the fundamental laws of the universe and never stepped back, but "patiently" waited for the evolution of individuals complex enough to respond to *internal* divine promptings, and then gradually injected his/her will into the world through the persuasion of the sense of beauty. Deism is thus radically incomplete.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2012 1:30:04 PM PDT
Mickey says:
John,

I suppose that's fair enough, but I wouldn't wish eternal damnation on anyone and I couldn't worship a God who would allow it - I would feel I was worshiping evil and my conscience would not allow it. Nor could I ever accept free will as an excuse for hell because it's not an excuse. Finally, I do know Christians who believe Anne Frank should go to hell and Susan Atkins should go to heaven - which I know is evil.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2012 1:43:08 PM PDT
If you are interested in what the Bible actually presents then know that it doesn't describe the Almighty as a Being who is totally omnipotent and omniscient in the full sense that you are describing it.

For instance, the Bible says that God cannot die or lie. Being holy and perfect he cannot accept a bribe or do anything that is evil or anything that causes him to be sinful or attached to sinners.

In the book of Genesis we see God watching and listening to see what Adam would come up with in naming animals. We also see him doing actual research in Genesis as to cries that were being heard in regard to the badness of the district of Sodom.

The Bible presents God as a person who can know the future but uses this ability selectively. If he knew the future completely then he would have no free will and free will would not exist for his creatures either. No decision would actually be a true decision since it have already been a foregone conclusion as it had been foreseen/foreordained. The Bible shows that God sets times for things to be fulfilled but doesn't choose to know all of the details about how it will happen. But with his Almighty power and his unfathomable wisdom he is more than a match for any challenge that may stand in the way of his purpose.

Posted on Apr 15, 2012 1:54:00 PM PDT
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Posted on Apr 15, 2012 1:57:05 PM PDT
E. Roberts says:
God, is the " I am", the Alpha and the Omega, which is infinity; therefore, whatever you can possibly phantom God to be is what he is. Just as the absolute "0" is the hottest of the hot, as well as, the coldest of the cold. He is all into infinity. If you choose to be in a position close to feeling (heavenly) his love more intimately by following his commandments in the Bible, that is preferable (to say the least) than not following his commandments in the Bible and being away from his love, or in a position of "Hell", which is what Satan choose. Free will, is free will. All the rest is faith and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior. No debate here, it is your free will to accept or not to accept.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2012 1:59:18 PM PDT
D. Thomas says:
Sure, he did Mickey. But how could he predict how Adolf and Susan would turn out? Didn't they have free will?

Oh, that's right. He's omniscient. So he knew in advance...

Guess God just doesn't give three c**ps.
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Discussion in:  Religion forum
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Initial post:  Apr 14, 2012
Latest post:  May 4, 2012

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