Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The "Problem of Evil" in Context of my Proofs

The proofs in the previous post assert that Phil and Judy should not exist if there is suffering in the world. This argument is similar to the philosophical Problem of Evil. The distinction is that evil is usually linked to some sort of intention, whereas suffering - physical, mental and emotional pain - has no such link. Reading Daggerclaw’s comments, it is apparent that a more direct discussion of the Problem of Evil, or in this case, suffering, is in order. I’m addressing the usual justifications for evil, but as justifications for suffering, and in the context of the existence of Phil or Judy.
  • Evil is an illusion - what we perceive to be evil is not really evil.

    This argument usually posits that what we see as evil is not actually evil because bad things can have good long-term effects and because natural evils like hurricanes and disease are not connected to nefarious intentions. This argument really doesn’t work for suffering. Suffering does not have to have intentions. It doesn’t matter if suffering has good long-term effects. It's still suffering, so this argument has no impact on my proofs.

    Perhaps the reader wishes to pursue the stance that all suffering really is an illusion. Perhaps our entire lives are no more than illusions. Nonetheless, the idea that Phil or Judy would deceive us into believing we are suffering is still inconsistent with the notion of omnibenevolence.

  • God cannot be judged because God is infinitely wiser/more complex than us.

    A lowly being like myself can think of a way for an Abrahamic god like Judy to achieve what it wants without the use of any suffering (Proof II part 3). Thus, I find it ridiculous to believe that a such a god would have a goal that it, in its infinite wisdom, cannot achieve without the use of Holocaust-scale suffering.

  • Suffering for the greater good

    This is basically the same as the previous. What could a god possibly want that it can’t get without Holocaust-scale suffering? Such an idea is inconsistent with an omniscient, omnipotent god.

  • Evil exists to test humanity

    Judy/Phil already know what we will do, so testing is unnecessary.

  • Free will

    The system constructed in Proof II part 3 circumvents the need for free will to create suffering. Even with free will, Judy already knows what people will do, what they will choose, etc., and who would go to heaven if they were to live on Earth. Thus, she creates the heaven-bound souls in heaven. Funny how free will doesn’t create suffering in heaven…

  • Suffering for the purpose of building character

    Phil/Judy can create souls with built-in character, making character-building suffering unnecessary.

  • Evil is the lack of God’s compassion

    If there is ever a lack of Phil/Judy’s compassion, it is because Phil/Judy wanted it to be so. Thus, by removing its compassion, Phil/Judy is still responsible all evil in the world. Thus, Phil/Judy is responsible for suffering.
I think a lot of these justifications were formulated with the unstated assumption that God had to create a physical world like the Earth. However, there is no basis for that assumption. Without it, we have Proof I in which no souls are created and Proof II in which no physical world is created. Any questions?

1 comment:

John said...

"natural evils like hurricanes and disease" - in this context natural means "beyond human control." This does not apply to an supposedly omniptent being. Omnipotent means able to do literally anything. Absolutely nothing could happen, anywhere, ever, without such a being's approval. A strong argument could be made that 'approval' should be 'desire.' If a tsunami kills millions of people, then either the omnipotent being let it happen, or doesn't exist.

You are correct that an omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent God cannot logically exist, given the state of the world. Take away the omnibenevolence and the argument becomes slightly harder.

As for the problem of evil:

1) God want's to end suffering in the universe, but can't.

2) God could end suffering but doesn't want to.

3) God can't end suffering, and wouldn't even if he could.

4) God doesn't exist.

Anyway, philosophical arguments aside, I don't believe in God for one reason. Lack of real evidence.