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Featured Special Pleading and the PoE (Part 2)

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Meow Mix, Jul 21, 2021.

  1. Meow Mix

    Meow Mix Chatte Féministe

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    During the other thread, @F1fan brought up a good point I'd like to expound on here.

    First, we must play some catch-up for the point presented here to make sense.

    The Problem of Evil, as most know, is an argument that points out it is inconsistent for an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent deity to create a world in which preventable suffering exists. In a couple of other posts, I have already gone over just how physical suffering is in fact logically preventable by such a being, so I shall not do that here (I will send links to those posts in the comments if asked).

    However, one theodicy that is sometimes given as a response to this observation is that perhaps suffering exists for some benevolent reason that is just unknowable to humans. This was one of the arguments examined in the first Special Pleading and the Problem of Evil post I made: if this reasoning is accepted, it can lead to a trap in which the theodicist can never escape the reasoning, and the deity could literally do any wicked thing and the theodicist would still be able to explain it away: it is a position that's impossible to be evidenced out of, in other words; and in this instance, is a form of fallacious special pleading.

    There is another objection to this theodicy that I think deserves attention: the "reasoning" works both ways.

    For instance, if it's a fair theodicy to say that any suffering that exists is not evidence against benevolence because it could actually be benevolent in some unknowable way, then (if such reasoning is allowed) it would also be a fair theodicy to say that any good that exists is not evidence for benevolence because it could actually be malevolent in some unknowable way: after all, in neither case is any justification actually offered by anybody since the burden of evidence is shunted into the nebulous realm of agnosticism ("we can't know how this is actually benevolent despite appearances to the contrary").

    The person that accepts one but not the other is trying to have their cake and eat it, too: they both have the exact same lack of justification, they're both the same exact kind of special pleading. If a person doesn't accept the latter then they must be able to explain why they reject it, but not the former.

    (I submit that we simply shouldn't allow special pleading in the first place and avoid such problems. If something has the appearance of malevolence, it is reasonable to accept it as exactly that [evidence of malevolence], until some justification is explicit and forthcoming for how it actually isn't).
     
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  2. Xavier Graham SA

    Xavier Graham SA God is Love, is love, is love. OM, AV KAH AHH!

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    A point that I brought up in your part 1 thread was that perhaps suffering is a result of negative actions of man. You said my reasoning didn’t apply specifically to the PoE, because I said that sin/Satan is in charge essentially, rather than God. But I think that God would still be omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent in that situation.
    I would say that many believers don’t view all suffering as benevolent in some unknowable way. Rather, it is a result of the tragic circumstances we find ourselves in; living in a world of sin.
    Excuse me if I’m misunderstanding the PoE, I’m just a little bit confused.
    It seems to me that the PoE puts the responsibility of peaceful living on God. I believe that the Bible at least teaches that the responsibility to prevent suffering is on man. So the God that is proposed in the PoE I don’t see as necessarily applying to the Biblical God at least.
    God did create a world where suffering didn’t exist, but ownership of the world left His hands when Adam and Eve sinned. It was us who brought suffering, and it is our responsibility to bring an end to the collective suffering.
    2 cents
     
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  3. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    As I touched on in the other thread, I don't think that omnipotent beings could justify suffering this way anyhow.

    For us humans, sometimes the most benevolent act will mean causing suffering... but this is only because we're limited, non-omnipotent beings who don't have the ability to cause the benefit without causing the harm.

    But an omnipotent being doesn't have those limitations. A being that can do everything can make a benefit happen without the associated suffering. For the God in the PoE, the suffering is always avoidable, so it would need to be justified on its own merits.
     
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  4. F1fan

    F1fan Well-Known Member

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    I think raises another issue. If we observe a world, with basic moral standards that we humans recognize as good and pragmatic, where many events take place that we ourselves would not impose or do to others (like cancer), and there is a claim that a benevolent God has created this world, then we must either trust the claim but not our own mind and moral sense, or trust our mind and moral sense and reject the claim. There's no room to both trust the self and the claim because there is a serious inconsistency with the claim and what we observe of the world.
     
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  5. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    If God is omniscient and omnipotent, and is the ultimate source of everything, then "sin/Satan" is something that was brought into the world by God. God would still be responsible for all suffering or evil.
     
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  6. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    God is where the responsibility belongs as God is the one with the power to prevent suffering, humans do not have this power and therefore cannot be held responsible.
    In my opinion.
     
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  7. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    Another thought: if we're bringing the Bible into this, then we also have to acknowledge that sin came as a package deal with the knowledge of right and wrong.

    According to the Genesis story, human beings die because we were granted the ability to know good and evil "as God." This would mean that when we judge God to be doing evil, this judgment would be reliable.
     
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  8. F1fan

    F1fan Well-Known Member

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    First, interpreting the A&E story literally is a stretch. It's all too absurd to even propose as being a practical issue to bring up.

    But to close out this issue, if God wanted A&E to obey why didn't it create them with adequate capacity to obey, and resist temptation? Given the lack of adequate discipline, and that God sent the serpent to tempt them, and that they easily fell victim, it's most likely God set them up to fail. After all, if the All Mighty God really, really wanted to create beings who would successfully avoid temptation don't you think it would have done it? That A&E failed suggests God failed. But God doesn't make mistakes, so it must have been deliberate, and the blame put on the "perfect" people who for some reason didn't have perfect discipline.
     
  9. Xavier Graham SA

    Xavier Graham SA God is Love, is love, is love. OM, AV KAH AHH!

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    I believe that through collective morality, it would be possible for humans to bring an end to suffering.
     
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  10. 74x12

    74x12 Well-Known Member

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    Well that's a quite jump in logic. You went from no one knows for sure either way to ... we are justified in saying God is malevolent but not in saying he's benevolent.

    I think there is far more evidence for the latter actually.
     
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  11. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    So the Covid-19 vaccines have not prevented any suffering?
    Maybe they should be taken off the shelf and see what happens.
     
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  12. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    So do I, not the least of which is...

    John 3:16
    King James Version


    16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
     
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  13. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    And that is what the Baha'i Faith is all about.
     
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  14. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    This thread has focused on the West. The Western answers never satisfied me either.

    What did satisfy me was this perspective:

    First, an analogy. If I as a young person want to win a gold medal in Olympic gymnastics, I need to practice endlessly and along the way will suffer emotionally and physically due to falls etc. If at the end, I do win the gold medal, it will all seem to have been totally worth the pain and suffering along the way.

    And if it were too easy, there'd be no feeling of accomplishment. I'd likely be bored and disinterested.

    Similarly, if my goal is to realize God, have liberation, much much more hard work and suffering will result in a supreme feeling of accomplishment when I finally reach the goal after uncounted lives. There's nothing like putting everything we have into a supreme struggle and succeeding to satisfy one.

    The law of action/reaction, karma, will ensure that all my mistakes along the way are balanced by getting back what I dished out.
     
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  15. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    The power of humans to prevent suffering is limited, the power of an omnipotent creator of the material realms is not limited.
     
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  16. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    Ah, another religion promising a utopia it can't deliver on.
    In my opinion.
     
    #16 danieldemol, Jul 22, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2021
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  17. Meow Mix

    Meow Mix Chatte Féministe

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    This would be the argument that God punishes descendants for the crimes of ancestors; and furthermore that punishment with gratuitous suffering is completely disproportional to the supposed crime.

    Furthermore, if suffering is a punishment for something, then it can't simultaneously be argued that suffering is beneficial in some hidden way: those two ideas are not congruent with each other.

    I don't think this rescues any deities from the Problem of Evil; it still describes a being that isn't very benevolent.
     
  18. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    The hundred-dollar question is why God should prevent human suffering. "Because God is omnipotent" is not an answer. Aside from the fact that "some people" don't like suffering is there any other reason God should eliminate suffering?
     
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  19. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    The utopia will come in due time, it is early yet.
     
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  20. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    That's a limitation of the way you were allegedly created, in other words an omnipotent etc God could have created you in such a way that you would get that feeling of accomplishment without struggle.

    As for karma in my opinion it is disproven by the fact that the first creatures to ever live all died without having past lives to blame for their demise, so once it is established that death and suffering can occur for purely natural reasons and one's past life morality has nothing to do with it then there is no reason to assume that later lives were of any difference to former lives.
     
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