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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 1:56 pm 
If you assume that 'the universe has a purpose' and that that purpose is for some god to test itself and all of creation, then you're already assuming that you have a 'good' god who is not sure if he's omni[foo].

However, it does seem that the god in the old testament of the christian (and jewish?) religion wasn't actually 'good' but 'powerful' (mighty). He could and did smite enemies, drown a world, etc. A totally-perfect good being would not cause that sort of suffering - assuming he is that powerful, he could quite easily change everyone's mind. This means that we have an intellectual quandry:

if there is a purpose to the universe, then the god of it (should there be one) is by definition not perfect, and not omni[foo]; to have created imperfection, implies an imperfect ability to create perfection. He therefore must be both good AND evil, hence the 'two sides of the same coin' argument.

Killing puppies might be evil, but killing puppies that are infected with rabies isn't. The puppies, however, are just as dead.

Have I made any logical errors? (probably several)


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 2:09 pm 
Um...
Quote:
A totally-perfect good being would not cause that sort of suffering - assuming he is that powerful, he could quite easily change everyone's mind.

Er, wouldn't that be mind-control? I don't know if that's actually preferrable to simple murder...
I am, however, pretty sure an omnipotent god could have created a world with a lot less uneccessarry suffering - without removing free will or anything of the kind.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 4:18 pm 
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Vorpal Bunny Slipper
Vorpal Bunny Slipper

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sun tzu wrote:
I am, however, pretty sure an omnipotent god could have created a world with a lot less uneccessarry suffering - without removing free will or anything of the kind.


Such a world is normally called "Heaven". As I said before, Heaven is the worst thing for the Problem of Evil.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 9:44 am 
Jeremiah Smith wrote:
sun tzu wrote:
I am, however, pretty sure an omnipotent god could have created a world with a lot less uneccessarry suffering - without removing free will or anything of the kind.


Such a world is normally called "Heaven". As I said before, Heaven is the worst thing for the Problem of Evil.


Even without going to the extreme of not putting any suffering at all, there are possible improvememnts...
How about no carnivores, for instance? And if you still want to keep meat-eating, get meat to grow on plants (okay, difficult to pull off biologically, but hey, with omni-potence...). That alone would have removed much sufferring.
Or viruses (viri?). They aren't much help either, are they?
Or a built-in limit in human reproductive systems to prevent overpopulation.
And really, is the world better off as a result off as a result of earthquakes, tornadoes, and tsunamies?
I like our world, but I'm pretty sure an omnipotent designer could have done better.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 10:34 pm 
Heh. Nice thread. I guess I'll chime in:

My philosophy (if you can justify it as a 'philosophy') is kinda derived from Teilhard de Chardin and the other deistic relativists. IMHO, the breaking point is in the whole idea of 'good' as an absolute, Platonic Forms concept - there's no such thing. 'Good' is instead relative, and evolves as human beings (and human civilizations) try and test new ideas and come to consensus on what's moral and what isn't. As a side note, this is also my best guess as to why the universe exists in the first place - it's the ultimate social experiments lab.

Or so the bare bones go, anyway. Feel free to call me a Socinian heretic and set the Jesuits on me, all. 8-)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 1:59 pm 
I think that trying to be "good" is a relatively modern concept. It seems that people used to worry more about who could smack them with a bolt of lightning / make their crops grow / turn them into sheep than what was "right". I'm not certain the term "right" even had much meaning. You certainly don't see the Greek and Roman gods portrayed as purely good, and many "primitive" religions have all sorts of neutral gods that you have to bribe to get stuff.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 3:29 pm 
Madcat wrote:
I think that trying to be "good" is a relatively modern concept. It seems that people used to worry more about who could smack them with a bolt of lightning / make their crops grow / turn them into sheep than what was "right". I'm not certain the term "right" even had much meaning. You certainly don't see the Greek and Roman gods portrayed as purely good, and many "primitive" religions have all sorts of neutral gods that you have to bribe to get stuff.


Someone once pointed out this contrast...The ancient Greeks and Romans (to name just them) believed that the world was merry and good, but beyond it were the gods and fates who could be...Not so good. By contrast, the Christians who came afterward believed the world was wicked and full of suffering, but beyond it was a just, loving God, and Heaven.
Hm.

But, I'm pretty certain there was concern about being "good". The Greek philosophers struggled with it, for one...


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