Contemplation of evil

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Aditya Kiran Bukkapatnam's picture
Contemplation of evil

From my point of view, the biggest "reason" for why God doesn't exist is because of the infinite amount of existential suffering in this world. We all know the millions who suffer seemingly unnecessarily. Yet theists act as if we are unworthy of contemplating why this suffering takes place or rather we should accept our fate. My argument is better personified by my professor -

" What theists claim is that we can't make the inference from 'I don't see any reason why God would allow this horrible suffering' to 'There is no reason why God would allow this horrible suffering'.

If I look around the room for an elephant and fail to see one, then I am entitled to conclude that there are, in fact, no elephants in the room. That's a good no-see-um inference. But if I look at the tip of a hypodermic needle and don't see any germs on it, then I am NOT entitled to conclude there there are, in fact, no germs on it. That's a bad no-see-um inference. The skeptical theist claims that looking around for reasons why God might allow suffering and not finding any is like looking for germs, not elephants."

Being the subjects of torment in the presence of an omnipotent and omni-benevolent God makes the problem of evil the elephant in the room. Not to mention all the claims of religion and God.

Here's my question:- If God exists, the question of why evil exists deserves an explanation, because it is we, as humans who are suffering. It is not the case that we don't have the cognitive capacity to understand a multi-layered co-relation, so if God exists what is the reason for evil?

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Nyarlathotep's picture
Aditya - "if God exists what

Aditya - "if God exists what is the reason for evil"

Oh easy: because god is either unwilling, or unable to do anything about it.

ThePragmatic's picture
I assume most Atheist and

I assume most Atheist and Agnostics are already acquainted with the quote:

"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?"

Epicurus (c. 341 - c. 270 BC)

But, this doesn't seem to have any impact on them.
Probably because theists have so many escape routes from this, it is obvious how fabricated it all is from the start:
- It's all according to god's plan.
- We are to insignificant to comprehend god's wisdom.
- We brought this suffering on ourselves since the "Fall of man".
- It's the Devil.
- Those who suffer in this life, will be rewarded in the next.
And when all else fails:
- God works in mysterious ways.

Then there is of course:
- God is both good and evil.
- God is a sadistic bastard.
- God is an imbecile.
- God is dead.
And so on...

I would be impressed if the entire Christian community could come to a consensus.
Which is it?

Strange as it seems, most theists seems to have completely personal opinions on this, as so often of all matters of faith.

Aditya Kiran Bukkapatnam's picture
Yes I think that successfully

Yes I think that successfully summarizes the possible arguments, just wondering if theists have a new or different explanation.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Sure, they will tell you that

Sure, they will tell you that omnipotence (or some other attribute) isn't that simple, but this is where they are being silly. These absolute attributes are extremely simple because they are absolute; in fact it is hard to imagine a simpler attribute. Imagine if they told you that their deity was very powerful; then it wouldn't be clear exactly what he can and can not do. Luckily (for us) they have closed this loophole themselves.

ThePragmatic's picture
Still, I would be so

Still, I would be so impressed if, as I said, the entire Christian community could come to a consensus. Which is it?

Aditya Kiran Bukkapatnam's picture
Just got a response on a

Just got a response on a different forum from a theist. -

in order to make the claim that suffering is unnecessary you would have to know God's mind a it is well..there are plenty of other variables you would have to know such as how much suffering is too haven't accounted for free will...if no free will..also by recognizing suffering as such you have recognized the existence of objective morality...without an appeal to some sort of synderetic could you even claim that a certain act was sufferable...what is to say that such acts are just part of nature...and are is no such thing as suffering from a purely physicalist perspective...since everything would be the result of impersonal forces outside our scope...evil exists simply because of bad choices...evil cannot be it does not come from God...evil can only be caused by something which draws something out of its normal mode of being...say if something acts a principle which it should have...since evil is a couldnt create evil ex deo...or ex nihilo..God is pure actus...evil is the absence of a [rinciple...and you cant create absence...the act of creation itself is becoming...not privating...the question of natural evils is more tricky...

...also since the physical world is purposeless in would you know that we didnt have it all wrong..that suffering was good and being good was bad..i mean you really couldnt know without an appeal to some sort of objective morality...

What do you guys think?

Nyarlathotep's picture
Well sure they all claim to

Well sure they all claim to have a personal relationship with Jesus, but can't seem to agree on anything about what he wants/does not want. That right there should be a huge red flag for anyone.

dalkibiades's picture
I liked Epicurus' quote too

I liked Epicurus' quote too much. A concise and striking one. And, the Pragmatic, your message is pretty clear. Thanks.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Aditya's friend - "in order

Aditya's friend - "in order to make the claim that suffering is unnecessary you would have to know God's mind a priori"

We do know god's mind; the believers tell us it all the time: god is all good (omni-benelovant).
Aditya's friend - "how much suffering is too much"

Well that is easy, any more than 0 it too much for an omni-benelovant, omnipotent, omnipresent deity.
Aditya's friend - "you haven't accounted for free will"

We don't need to; for the instant they told us god was omnipotent, freewill is a contradiction (and therefore does not exist).
Aditya's friend - "evil cannot be it does not come from God"

Proverbs 16.4: "The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil."

Aditya Kiran Bukkapatnam's picture
Hi Mintaka

Hi Mintaka

My argument was well summarized by Nyarlothotep, in the presence of an omnipotent and omni-benevolent God, any suffering above 0 is unnecessary evil. Any suffering at all. This includes the possibility of physical pain and negative emotions.

I think the failure to grasp concrete definitions of evil and good is not a problem at all, it is simply a linguistic limitation. To demand a concrete definition of good and evil plays into the God of the gaps argument in a way. For example, hundreds of years ago humans had a good understanding of light. They may not have known that it is electromagnetic in nature or that it's comprised of photons, but they understood the concept nonetheless. I think that our failure to define such terms arises from a shortcoming in present-day linguistics, which is analogous to the shortcomings of science.

Furthermore, humans have a very good understanding of what is good and what is bad, and have highly sophisticated moral theories which have developed from experiential knowledge. The epistemology of morality and evil is well understood through common-sensical philosophy, which is a result of our evolutionary consciousness and neurology.

dalkibiades's picture
With regard to the stories

With regard to the stories mentioned either in Bible or Quran, a ten year old may enjoy them or simply is scared so much. An omnipotent god can do a street bargain with the evil whether this bad guy dissuade and deceive humans and in the end who will win. An omnipotent entity, which also hides from the eyes of its slaves and send mortal guys to convey its proof of existence, writes a complicated scenario, creates all this huge universe and earth and watch us while this evil slaughters the babies and children. Bible and Quran, which are both so far away from reality and full of silly and groundless facts and claims, are presented like the key to the salvation of the world. A tale of a beast/snake, one man, one women, angels, a tree. So creative! Theists, please do not pray for God's mercy and forgiveness and for the God to keep the evil away from these innocent people. Just shout at the God to appear in less than one second and touch the earth and universe with his magic wand, and make the heaven right here, not after we die. Because it is not real, it cannot do anything.

Evil is the human being. God's evil is the guy to blame.

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