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 ARE WE RULED BY AN EVIL GOD??? (PART TWO)

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PostSubject: ARE WE RULED BY AN EVIL GOD??? (PART TWO)   Sun Jun 28, 2009 3:35 pm

Making The Problem Of Evil As Simple As Possible: A Disambiguation Of Terms (Part One)

To understand what's going on, the "Problem of Evil" should be described in a way that (hopefully) leaves little room for meaningless semantic argument over the terms. For example, one can disambiguate omnibenevolence in order to ensure unanimous agreement over the meaning of the word whenever it appears. It helps to also disambiguate the term omnipotence.

A Disambiguation Of "Omnibenevolence"

"Benevolence" is behavior that consistently provides the well-being of others without expectation of reward. This is the typical meaning of the term.

“OMNI-benevolence", then, can be defined as "the favorable treatment of all without exception".

However, "benevolence" (a behavior) is typically confused with "inner goodness" (the inability to experience or perceive malice). This article will take advantage of the confusion (and half-heartedly agree with dictionary and layman argument that benevolence is inner goodness to a degree) in order to decompose "omnibenevolence" into three types (depicting a pattern of behavior, a psychological state, or a combination of the two).

Thus, when one states that God is "omnibenevolent" one implies that God is either:


1. Psychologically omnibenevolent (having mental "all-goodness" without the demonstration of "good" behavior)

2. Behaviorally omnibenevolent (behaving in an externally "all-good" manner regardless of true moral nature or motive)

3. Psycho-behaviorally omnibenevolent (having mental "all-goodness" that consistently expresses itself in constant demonstration of "good" behavior).

Thus God is "all-good" if he possesses:

(1) Blind Omnibenevolence (psychological) aka Type-1 Omnibenevolence or 1-Omnibenevolence

(2) Knowing-But-Tolerant (of Evil) Omnibenevolence (behavioral/psycho-behavioral) aka Type-2 Omnibenevolence or 2-Omnibenevolence

(3) Knowing-But-Intolerant (of Evil) Omnibenevolence (psycho-behavioral) aka Type-3 Omnibenevolence or 3-Omnibenevolence
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1. BLIND OMNIBENEVOLENCE (Type-1 Omnibenevolence)

Blind Omnibenevolence is the inability to perceive or conceive of evil. This perceptual blindness absolves one from blame for the deliberate creation or allowance of evil.

A blindly omnibenevolent God is lost in a world deep within the mind, unable to possess even a rudimentary concept of the external world. The God is thus blind to human existence, which in the absence of his interference arises from natural laws and processes. A blindly omnibenevolent God is "all-good" due to the inability to perceive evil; the God cannot prevent evil or divinely interfere to protect the innocent while locked away in eternal catatonia.




(Moore, Alan and Gibbons, Dave: For The Man Who Has Everything, Superman Annual #11, DC Comics 1985)

2. KNOWING-BUT-TOLERANT (OF EVIL) OMNIBENEVOLENCE (Type-2 Omnibenevolence)

This type of psycho-behavioral omnibenevolence is characterized (psychologically) by an absence of malice (save toward the wicked), and an absence of human failing and weakness.

Proponents of free will, when faced with the problem of God's co-existence with evil, will typically 'solve' the problem of evil and free will by invoking a God with Type 2-Omnibenevolence. A 2-Omnibenevolent God is absolved of evil through an inscrutable law that makes it OK to allow "bad things to happen to good people". The God is "right" no matter what he does, as he freely utilizes or permits suffering for the sake of:


(a) The development of moral character from suffering (the learning of patience, courage, insight, etc.)

(b) The 'greater good' of free will, allowing subjects the freedom to be good or bad in order to be a 'good God' by allowing man to be truly free, despite the collateral damage resulting from freedom to commit evil

Despite the allowance and use of evil for positive ends, it is believed that a 2-Omnibenevolent God will compensate non-sociopaths (or at least Christian non-sociopaths) for earthly suffering in the afterlife.

QUESTIONING TYPE-2 OMNIBENEVOLENCE IN THE GRANTING OF FREE WILL

It is believed that there is an inherent goodness or morality in the granting of free will:

St. Irenaeus (circa 130 - 202AD) argued that God had to give us free will in order to become moral, but the side-effect of that necessary endowment was evil, both moral and natural.

•God's aim when he created the world was to make humans flawless, in his likeness (as in Genesis)

•Genuine human perfection cannot be ready-made but must develop through free choice.

•Since God had to give us free choice, he had to give us the potential to disobey him.

•There would be no such potential if there were never any possibility of evil. If humans were made ready- perfected, and if God policed his world continually, there would be no free will.

•Therefore, the natural order had to be designed with the possibility of causing harm (natural evil), humans had to be imperfect (moral evil), and God had to stand back from his creation (not police it). Otherwise humans could not develop.

•Humans use their freedom to disobey God, causing suffering.

•God cannot compromise our freedom by removing evil.


(Wikipedia: The Problem of Evil, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil)

However, one can argue that St. Irenaeus makes ad hoc assumptions about the nature of the world in order to save belief in free will. For example, why cannot human perfection be ready-made? Isn't it possible for humans to develop without free will? Does free will require the existence of evil (it is not clear why evil must exist in order for there to be free will)? Irenaeus (and others) seem to dream up ad hoc limitations to the nature of existence (and God) that may in reality be false.

Free will, in contemporary theology, is taken for granted as a necessary good, but one can argue that there is no good reason to believe it. Ad hoc characterizations of the nature of the world are typically posited with unthinking confidence in order to make a theory or concept more iron-clad and fundamental than it truly is.


Richard Swinburne maintains that it does not make sense to assume there are such greater goods (such as the ‘greater good’ of free will), unless we know what they are, i.e., we have a successful theodicy.

(Wikipedia: The Problem of Evil, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil)

Finally, if God cannot be moral unless he grants free will, in what sense is this freedom 'moral' to innocent victims receiving the 'short end of the stick' in the freedom to commit evil?

One should remind proponents of free will that if one believes that God is right to allow subjects the freedom to choose evil, then one believes that God's allowance of free will has greater significance than the feelings, rights, and lives of innocent victims of evil.




Sorry lady! No use asking God for help! The "greater good" of allowing this guy the free will to suffocate you is more important to God than YOU are!

QUESTIONING TYPE-2 OMNIBENEVOLENCE AND ITS USE OF EVIL FOR CHARACTER-BUILDING

"An angel killed my mom
so I would be nicer
to people at work."

-Joke by female comedianne on the morning talk-radio program: The Dudley And Bob Show, KLBJ-FM Austin, Texas

A 2-Omnibenevolent God utilizes evil for character-building, allowing misfortunes to function as evolutionary pressures that instill positive qualities such as bravery, patience, kindness and wisdom.

Christian philosopher Peter Kreeft provides several answers to the problem of evil and suffering, including that:

a) God may use short-term evils for long-range goods

b) God created the possibility of evil, but not the evil itself

c) God uses suffering to bring about moral character, quoting apostle Paul in Romans 5

d) Suffering can bring people closer to God


(Wikipedia: The Problem of Evil, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil)

But is there an inextricable and ad hoc "eye of newt, wing of bat" connection between suffering and goodness? Is suffering a necessary ingredient in a cosmic "magic spell" that guarantees moral character? Might the qualities learned from suffering exist in a form as valid as adaptive morality?

Combined with the idea that there is ethical preference for free will over universal safety and happiness, one can argue that ethical preference for positive moral/psychological development from suffering is a matter, again, of an alien moral perception of God that views suffering as a necessary aspect of existence. But why is suffering a necessity, save by ad hoc assertion? What magical law necessitates that man must suffer and that this is somehow the 'correct' nature of things?

Why must some beings suffer while others remain untouched by human woe and weakness? Is the difference between those who suffer and those who do not a matter of cosmic luck-of-the-draw?

In the end, if the "benevolence and mercy of God resembles the benevolence and mercy of men" (Hume), God would be opposed to all evil and suffering. Being omniscient, God would devise positive psychological and moral qualities for his subjects that are just as valid and meaningful as those derived from suffering.


3. KNOWING-BUT-INTOLERANT (OF EVIL) OMNIBENEVOLENCE (Type-3 Omnibenevolence)

A God possessing Type-3 Omnibenevolence (aka God The Moral Policeman or God The Moral Tyrant) prevents the existence of evil by forcing his subjects to be good all the time.

In his role as the
Moral Tyrant, God comprehends evil but hates the phenomenon enough to ensure that knowledge of evil exists only in his mind---sparing others this knowledge by imposing an all-good world inhabited only by all-good subjects.

While an all-good world infallibly operates under his inexorable power, the Type-3 Omnibenevolent God imposes self-lobotomy in order to rid himself of the knowledge of evil. The lobotomy achieves psychological-omnibenevolence without Type-1 catatonia (God suffers no post-lobotomy psychosis).

A Type-3 Omnibenevolent God is (or Type-3 Omnibenevolent beings are) schematically described below:


1. A Type-3 Omnibenevolent God is omnipotent and omniscient.

2. All Type-3 Omnibenevolent beings are immediately opposed to evil and cannot tolerate it for a millisecond. Type-3 Omnibenevolent beings who can eliminate evil will do so immediately when they become aware of it.

3. A Type-3 Omnibenevolent God has no reason not to eliminate evil.

4. A Type-3 Omnibenevolent God has no reason not to act immediately.

5. Whatever the positive end result of suffering is, A Type-3 Omnibenevolent God can bring it about in ways that do not include suffering.

MAKING THE PROBLEM OF EVIL AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE (PART TWO): A DISAMBIGUATION OF THE TERM: "OMNIPOTENCE"

"Omnipotence" in this article is relevant only in its influence over the existence of evil. It is defined here as: the ability to immediately remove evil from the universe at a whim.

Approaching The Truth! Which Type Of "Omnibenevolence" Is Implied In The Reductio Ad Absurdum Of Hume And Epicurus?

Out of the three types of "Omnibenevolence" described above (Type-1, Type-2, or Type-3), which type is implied in the reductio ad absurdum of Hume and Epicurus?

Blind omnibenevolence (Type-1 Omnibenevolence) is ruled out. God is absolved from responsibility for evil if he is catatonic.

Knowing-But-Tolerant Omnibenevolence (Type-2 Omnibenevolence) is ruled out, as a Type-2 Omnibenevolent God, while not maliciously evil, nevertheless tolerates and allows evil and
is evil (harmful) in his use of misery and suffering to develop moral character.

If Type-1 and Type-2 Omnibenevolence are ruled out, which type of “Omnibenevolence” contradicts the evidence of natural and deliberate evil?






Type-3 Omnibenevolence is the undisputed winner, and it is the existence of THIS type of omnibenevolence that Hume and Epicurus questions. The Problem of Evil, according to Epicurus and Hume, is the problem of reconciling the existence of evil and suffering in the world with a Type-3 Omnibenevolent God.

This happens to be HUGELY important---as the existence or nonexistence of a 3-Omnibenevolent God reveals the truth about the type of world
YOU happen to inhabit (if God exists)!

If one accepts the premise of the problem of evil, one will conclude that the existence of evil PROVES that a God with Type-3 Omnibenevolence
DOES NOT EXIST!

As stated by Paul Draper:

"Therefore, evidence prefers that no god, as commonly understood by theists (if God is commonly understood to possess 3-Omnibenevolence), exists."

Or, if a God with Type-3 Omnibenevolence existed , evil would not exist.
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END PART TWO
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