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Featured Special Pleading and the PoE (Part 3)

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Meow Mix, Jul 28, 2021.

  1. Meow Mix

    Meow Mix Chatte Féministe

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    I have started quite a few threads about the PoE, but there is still more to talk about. Today I'd like to talk about this little issue: ostensibly, given the premises that God exists, that God is omnipotent, that God is omniscient, and that God created humans deliberately, then it is reasonable to conclude that God is responsible for our moral compasses: that evaluation that we perform when we feel something has morally good or morally bad implications.

    For instance, perhaps this is the reason that we might feel guilty if we hurt somebody, even unintentionally.

    Ostensibly, if God is benevolent and wishes for us to be morally good agents, God would endow us with functioning moral cognitive faculties: God would give us the ability to detect what is morally good and what is morally bad. (Now, obviously as a non-theist and moral non-cognitivist I don't believe any of this; just working within the framework of the premises).

    Let us return again to the example given in the last couple of PoE posts: childhood leukemia. If we were to imagine a being giving or allowing a child to suffer horribly from leukemia and then die, most of our moral compasses tingle "this is bad."

    But why? If we are to use the theodicy that this post series is about (that is, "God has an unknown, but benevolent, reason for causing/allowing physical suffering in the world"), why wouldn't our moral compasses register this as good even if we didn't understand why, if it was actually good?

    In other words, we are between a rock and a hard place: if children with leukemia is actually congruent with God's benevolence, and God gave us functioning cognitive, moral faculties, why wouldn't this register as good to us?

    If it is actually good, but registers on our moral compasses as bad, why did God give us malfunctioning moral cognitive faculties? Wouldn't that be an entirely new problem unto itself?
     
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  2. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    I alway wondered about the need to rationally justify God. There is no need for that as far as I can tell, all that is needed is faith.
     
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  3. Meow Mix

    Meow Mix Chatte Féministe

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    I think that if someone values reason, they should strive to hold reasonable beliefs in some rational way. If they don't, then perhaps that is fine for them; but it also means people that do have no reason to take their claims seriously (by definition). And perhaps that is fine with them. But people that do value these things will continue to strive towards better understanding.
     
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  4. SigurdReginson

    SigurdReginson Grēne Mann
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    Hmmm... This reminds me of another thread I made in the past involving the conscience. It was interesting to see just how people experience how their conscience actually triggers, cause it's not all the same. We can't describe how we each see the color blue, but we can describe what goes through our physical processes when our conscience is triggered.

    Empathy and the Conscience

    It seems to me that you are using "moral compass" in a similar way, though I could be mistaken.

    Still, I feel that's an aspect to consider when we are talking about what people feel in regards to their moral compass. It's not nearly a 1 to 1 ratio. Everyone experiences a different inner dialogue (or none at all) when this phenomenon happens to varying degrees. A lot of it also has to do with the way in which we are raised or with the way our culture exists in this place and time, not to mention our life experiences even to this point and time. It's a complicated issue.
     
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  5. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    Yeah, I get it, the part about rational. The problem is that is limited in practice. Rationalism doesn't work.
     
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  6. Meow Mix

    Meow Mix Chatte Féministe

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    I agree that it's a complicated issue, especially as a moral non-cognitivist. However, within the framework of the PoE premises, I think it's reasonable to say that if an omnipotent/omniscient being created humans and furthermore desired for them to be good moral agents, said being should have provided humans with cognitive faculties that are capable of correctly discerning moral good from moral bad. If this being did not do this, that's a whole new problem. If the being did do this, then the theodicy the post series is about (the "hidden reasons suffering is congruent with benevolence" argument) is incongruent with that possibility itself. It puts the theodicist between a rock and a hard place.
     
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  7. Meow Mix

    Meow Mix Chatte Féministe

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    What do you mean that it doesn't work? Also, what are you calling rationalism? The valuation of reason?
     
  8. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    No, you can't use reason and logic on all of the world. Both are in the end local in time, spaces and specific to given individual brains for some accepts of the world.
     
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  9. Meow Mix

    Meow Mix Chatte Féministe

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    What alternative is there to reason and logic? Logic is about self-consistency, and reason is about careful thinking with understanding of what follows from what. I don't see how you could do something besides that without it being nonsense in a very literal way.

    Edit: Unless we're talking about art, feelings, the realm of aesthetic and things like that.
     
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  10. viole

    viole Ontological Naturalist
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    That we have that moral knowledge, is actually a necessary pre-condition in Christianity. For, how would we know that we are sinning, otherwise? Or convince anyone that sin is actually something to avoid? The alternative would be to just declare some acts as wrong, and some as right, axiomatically, or just because they arbitrarily emanate from God, which would lead to fundamentally amoral conclusions like divine command theory.

    So, either we acquired that knowledge by eating that apple, thereby causing the entire cosmic crisis, or its has been deliberately embedded in our design, like Asimov's robot laws. These are the necessary conclusions that a Christian must make, if she does not want to defeat the entire theological shebang.

    Ciao

    - viole
     
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  11. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    I agree that divine command theory just doesn't work, but it does seem to be a pretty common way to at least try to resolve the problem you describe.

    It also occurs to me that if God were to institute a system where people who have endured suffering wind up better off in the end because of it (because of "reward in Heaven" or the like), then a strictly utilitarian moral framework would suggest it's best for me to inflict as much suffering as possible on as many people as possible.

    BTW: have I mentioned lately that I prefer when people are inconsistent and kind rather than consistent and cruel?
     
    #11 9-10ths_Penguin, Jul 28, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2021
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  12. Ponder This

    Ponder This Well-Known Member

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    If we accept that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent, does that entail that we also ought to be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent? After all, if God made us as anything less than that, wouldn't you count that as a failing on the part of God?

    But if we are not omniscient, not omnibenevolent, and not omnipotent, then how do you propose to know what it means to be omniscient, omnibenevolent, and omnipotent? To understand God, do you not have to be God?
     
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  13. viole

    viole Ontological Naturalist
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    The problem with divine command theory is that reduces sentences like "God is good", or "God is just" to mere tautologies, that say nothing about what is right or wrong. The whole concept of right/wrong would vanish, and could be replaced by the concept of jshdbj/fiuakjsn maintaining the same moral meaning. I noticed that Christians in general do not like that, even if that resolves their problem.

    Another problem is that they defuse any moral argument for the existence of God, since any such argument is bound to be hopelessly circular.

    Ciao

    - viole
     
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  14. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    That reminds me of a comment on representative democracies: it's a bad form of government, just better than all the others.

    You can't use rationality to choose your basic principles. But after that, it works pretty well. At the very least, it works better for understanding things than any other system we have found.
     
  15. Link

    Link Well-Known Member
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    As far as I aware, we function like this: "It's evil and bad unless there is an explanation".

    Which goes with a fallen world perspective of Abrahamic faiths.
     
  16. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    Right. It turns morality into mere obedience to arbitrary rules. I think it's fair to say that such a system isn't a system of morality in any meaningful sense.

    (And the rules have to be arbitrary, because if there's some objective basis for them, then that objective basis is the foundation of morality, not the commands of God).


    Heh... I haven't come across any argument for the existence of God that hasn't had fatal flaws.
     
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  17. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    Yeah, the edit - here in regards to science. https://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/0_0_0/whatisscience_12

    Now here is the actual practical limit. You can't do a "we" without a given basic principle and you can use different basic principles to get different versions of "we" and also what makes a human a human.
    So the problem is that you can't establish. You can choose to believe in it and act accordingly.

    So Meow Mix as for logic, for a given context with 2 humans, there is not one context as such, because you could act with X is Y and I could act with X is not Y, but Z. And as longs we can both act there is no contradiction.
     
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  18. Hermit Philosopher

    Hermit Philosopher Selflessly here for you

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    Dear Meow Mix

    I’ve never done this previously, but I was wondering if you would mind taking a look at below and give me your thoughts in relation to your PoE OP’s.


    Humbly
    Hermit


     
  19. viole

    viole Ontological Naturalist
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    I agree, but the ones which do not rely on divine command theory, are slightly more defensible. The ones which do, suffer from circularity from the start up.

    Ciao

    - viole
     
  20. AlexanderG

    AlexanderG Active Member

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    I think modern Christianity has developed a set of ad hoc arguments so that they can have their cake and eat it too. Namely, god is perfect and made everything perfectly, but humans messed it up through sin and The Fall. This allows Christians to rationalize why a world full of suffering, that seems consistent with no benevolent mind ordering it, could still have been created by a benevolent mind. Of course, I think this also creates a psychological problem where we must gaslight and tell ourselves that horrible random things are ultimately our fault, the byproduct of a miasma of lingering human depravity. Hurricanes are a product of gay sex, etc.

    It also raises the question of why a perfect god would essentially create toddlers that don't yet understand right and wrong, and don't understand that they should obey god, and then this god puts a tantalizing feature in the middle of the toddler's play area (garden of Eden) and tells them to definitely not play with it or eat the shiny stuff on it? Like, shouldn't he have known what would happen? Didn't he by definition have foreknowledge of what would happen? Was it really a perfect creation if it had a giant red self-destruct button in the middle of his toddler pen, and how much blame goes to the one who knowingly orchestrated this scenario, versus the ones who literally didn't know better?

    I haven't heard how Muslims or Jews argue about this. Still, the problem of evil boils down to god either being indistinguishable from an uncaring/evil god, or god not being all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good. Either way, god is not very good. The only ad hoc argument left is that "god has unknown, morally sufficient reasons for doing apparently evil things," but that argument would equally rationalize any sort of god, whether good, evil, trickster, apathetic, or anything else. It just doesn't work and I've heard no good answer to this problem.
     
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