Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Where was God? (updated)

As most of you will have heard, a party from an Auckland christian school went canyoning yesterday in Tongariro, and six children and their teacher drowned as waters rose, and they were washed away.  This is tragic, absolutely tragic -- utterly heartbreaking for everyone involved -- and since it helps to talk, I'm going to talk.

Murray Burton, the principal of the school, said that the group were discovered missing when other students gathered after canyoning down the Mangatepopo river — a technique combining hiking, climbing and swimming...  It is a fairly standard sort of activity.  [ref: London Times]

Well, yes, it's "fairly standard," but since your adventure takes place in a river system in a mountain range, it's also highly dependent on weather.  Twenty-one canyoners died in Switzerland in 1999 when heavy rain caused the canyon to flood, and without any means of escape, they perished: rainwater has to go somewhere, and where it goes when it rains is down the river system.  If you're not prepared, you can die of it.

Two questions would have screamed out for an answer to most of us when we heard the news:

  1. On a day when we all woke up to news of heavy rain and happy farmers around the North Island, what the hell were they doing in the bloody canyon?
    I guess we'll hear answers to that question in due course.  It's a question that needs answering, and some angry people will be asking it very loudly.
  2. Here's another question that needs answering, and it's one that a lot of children will have been asking this morning:  When these young christians died yesterday, where was their God?

When they left their christian school en route to their adventure, and no doubt prayed to God to keep them all safe, where was God?  When they prayed that morning for success in their trek and God's guidance to get them through it safely, where was God?  When they listened that morning to the weather forecast, which would have told them that heavy rain was on the way, where was their brain -- and where was God?  When the heavy rain began flooding down the canyon and they first knew they were in danger, and no doubt prayed to God again ... where was God?

It's the same question any honest person must have in every disaster. It's a question that must have occurred to many of you when 75 people were killed in Australia's Ash Wednesday bushifires.  Or when 87,350 were killed in the 2005 Kashmir earthquake.  Or when thousands die in a Venezualan mudslide, a Yangtze flood, or a Bangladeshi cyclone.  Or when the Boxing Day Tsunami snuffed out the lives of more than 225,000 people.  Or when a million people died in the Ethiopian famine?

What the hell is this 'god' doing?

According to his adherents, he's supposed to be all-powerful, all-knowing and all-good -- and one famous argument for his existence argues that "part of what we mean when we speak of God is 'perfect being'" (and if he's not all-powerful, all-knowing and all-good -- and perfect -- then what would make him god anyway?).  So where was he, this omnipotent being, and what the hell was he doing when seven of his adherents put themselves in his hands?  Didn't he want to look after 'his' children? 

I think you know the answer.

NB: Kudos to Newstalk ZB host Leighton Smith, who's had the courage to ask callers this question on his radio show this morning.

UPDATE: Wording altered slightly.

Labels:

73 Comments:

Blogger AA said...

There is no God.

4/16/2008 11:03:00 am  
Blogger Lindsay said...

If god is irrelevant (he would seem to be to you and I) why bring him up? Is it because the children were from a Christian School that you put the question? So as well as having lost their children you are prepared to bang their parents around the heads about their faith? Why? Are you suggesting their trust in god made them stupid and reckless? I am trying to see the point in this post beyond it being an opportunity to state again your rational atheism. But it feels like pretty poor timing.

4/16/2008 11:22:00 am  
Anonymous DenMT said...

Agreed Lindsay. Ridiculing these children and their families for belief in a God can maybe wait a few days, one imagines. This is a real tragedy.

DenMT

4/16/2008 11:35:00 am  
Blogger Blair said...

Yes, unless their deaths were caused by their faith in God, it seems in pretty poor taste to turn this tragedy into a philosophical/theological debate.

There is also a vast library of material available discussing the problem of suffering, so you also might have done some reading before being so snarky.

4/16/2008 11:51:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

"If god is irrelevant (he would seem to be to you and I) why bring him up? Is it because the children were from a Christian School that you put the question?"

Precisely.

"Ridiculing these children and their families for belief in a God can maybe wait a few days, one imagines. This is a real tragedy."

Yes, it is, and I completely understand and respect your disagreement with my decision to post this. But far from simply being "an opportunity to state again [my] rational atheism," I firmly believe people will be asking this question today.

It's certainly the case that callers to Leighton Smith's show have been happy to address the question.

Yes, he put the question somewhat differently -- What would you say to a child who asked, "Why did God kill these Christian children? Where is God when bad things like this happen to 'good people' that are his?" -- but no one suggested the question shouldn't be put.

Because it's a question that desperately needs asking, IMHO, and well before it becomes too easy to rationalise.

Because far from being irrelevant, theology and god-worship still poisons ethics, and tortures epistemology. It needs challenging.

4/16/2008 11:56:00 am  
Anonymous DenMT said...

'"If god is irrelevant (he would seem to be to you and I) why bring him up? Is it because the children were from a Christian School that you put the question?"

"Precisely."'

WTF? Are you suggesting that the outcome might have been different had this been a state school, or a Montessori school? And please exercise restraint in not taking cheapshots here in your answer.

As Lindsay points out, to you God is irrelevant. You are convinced that he/she/it does not exist, thus no anger you might feel at this tragedy can be rationally directed at him/her/it. The question then has to be asked - where are you directing this anger, this need 'to talk' that you have dramatically expressed?

Is it at the school? Was the school cavalier in it's attitude towards human life, believing that God would prevent harm coming to the kids so they could take greater risks on school trips? The parents? Where?

These questions can't be satisfactorily answered by a read of your post, so the only conclusion to draw is that you are using this tragedy simply to fuel another blanket attack on religious belief. This is in incredibly poor taste.

DenMT

(Furthermore, one thing that religious groups can offer in times of intense emotional distress such as the families of the deceased will now be living through is a real sense of community and unselfish giving of time. I know that both concepts evoke horror in libertarians, but to so sternly denigrate the crutch that these families will be heavily leaning on at the moment is pretty sick. Let it go for a few weeks I say.)

4/16/2008 12:21:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

"WTF? Are you suggesting that the outcome might have been different had this been a state school, or a Montessori school?"

WTF? I'm suggesting no such thing.

I'm inviting readers to consider this point: that Christians consider themselves protected by God's armour, yet their God was either not there when they needed protection, or else complicit in their destruction.

Why would one want to worship such a being? What "comfort" could one possibly draw from such an entity? What cant will be heard today in inviting the bereaved to draw such comfort?

That is what I find offensive: the disgusting bromides that say in the face of tragedy the likes of "God moves in mysterious ways," and "They've gone to a better place."

The child's question is much more honest -- at least it looks for understanding, to whit: "Why does God do bad things to good people?"

And why would one want to worship a being who did?

4/16/2008 12:38:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not all the children at Elim are Christian Peter. I considered it for my son after his unfortunate experience at Howick College. They welcome non christians.

If their faith comforts them at this awful time then let them be comforted.

4/16/2008 12:38:00 pm  
Blogger Berend de Boer said...

Where is God? It's exactly that question that the devil puts to Job.

The story begins where God says to the devil:

Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

The devil answers: well, everything is going perfect for him. Of course he believes there is a God:

Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side?

All the God stuff is nonsense. Let me attack him, and he will curse you:

But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

And so Satan got permission to take all Job had. All his possessions, and all his ten children.

Surely that should have been enough. Where is God should Job have asked, isn't it pc?

But what does Job do:

And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

Maybe we should ask it more often where God is when everything goes well.

4/16/2008 01:23:00 pm  
Anonymous JC said...

If there is a god, then he created the world with natural laws to avoid chaos.

If god created free will (and there some ideas on god that deny this) then god allows man to exercise his free will for good and evil, good decisions and bad.. only with free will can we grow.

If god listens to every prayer or wish and works to achieve them, then the world is changing a million times per second as he breaks natural laws to meet the needs of wishes or prayers. At one any one second it will be raining or shining, snowing, hailing, hot or cold, night or day and so on as he meets the needs of man. That would create chaos and no natural laws, and thus a repudiation of everything that god and man is predicated on.

If god is thus bound by his own natural laws and the free will of man, then both good and evil must exist, as do good conditions and bad, thus some of us are going to miss out as a result of evil or bad conditions and the element of chance must be present.

If man believes in god and prays to him for help, then all he can pray for and get, within the laws of nature and free will, is that he personally won't stuff up on judgment.

Thus, in short, the tragedy becomes a matter of judgment, circumstance and chance.

JCzn

4/16/2008 01:54:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting, possibly tasteless but I think everyone, Christian or otherwise persauded, thought something similar when they heard the situation.

Over a lifetime though we all die. Cancer, MI, car, coconut. A tragedy isn't it?
So you could in extremis argue God has failed by default in not giving us immortality - we're all a tragedy waiting to happen.

Given our 100% mortality God can't win the argument when framed this way so it's not convincing one way or other.

Relevant the post might be but don't be too gleeful to score philosophical points.
=============

More practical is what the hell were they doing in a canyon with a heavy-rain warning in force?

4/16/2008 03:53:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

Shit-oh-dear! The goddies are out and up at it again.

If God is omnipotent and omniscient, then God can't be all good. If he were omnipotent and omniscient, then he would have to be the source of all evil. That is, of course, assuming such an entity existed in the first place.

If a little child asked me why God murdered his people, I would have to tell the truth. That is, that God does not exist other than as a figment of some people's imagination. As such, he does not commit acts of ommission or commission. Ideas do not act (even really foolish ones).

Next I'd explain how sometimes these sorts of tragedies happen and that as well adapted as humans are, they are not omnipotent, nor are they omniscient. They can indeed be injured or killed.

Finally I'd explain that as much as certain foolish people would like to wish or pretend otherwise, in the final analysis each person is reponsible for his or her own life. That means that each must take care to avoid situations which may end up in injury or death. It's especially bad for children as they are in the unfortunate situation where they often have to rely on adults...

Take care. Evaluate risks carefully.

Simple stuff.

BTW what ever were people doing taking children into a canyon anyway? What's the bet there was no emergency plan or back-up plan or consideration for any of that. Uncontrolled hazards leading to deaths.... that's the thing to realise about reality- it only occurs the once.

LGM

4/16/2008 04:37:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given your tendency to gas-bag I doubt little children ask you anything LGM.

4/16/2008 05:16:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

Ah anonymous, you are such a wit. A fuck wit!

LGM

4/16/2008 05:44:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be fair to PC, the school principal said their faith had taekn a battering and they have questions as a result of the event.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/national/mnr/students_and_teacher_die_in_canyoning_tragedy_part_7

insider

4/16/2008 05:45:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think everyone, Christian or otherwise persauded, thought something similar when they heard the situation.

No one who has children would have thought that. As evidenced on this thread. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who has kids here and who does not.

4/16/2008 06:00:00 pm  
Blogger Damian said...

I'm strongly convinced that there is no such thing as a god other than what resides in the minds of people.

I'm also strongly convinced that there is a time and a place for scoring points and that this is not one of those times.

They're real people with real families who are suffering.

So, if anyone affected is reading this I would like to say that, as an atheist and a fellow kiwi, my heart goes out to you and your families.

4/16/2008 08:19:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon at 6pm:
Yes, you are right this thread is absolutely ridiculous and tasteless.

I agree that taking advantage of this incident to concentrate on the hoary world-view "god/no-god" argument is obsessive if not pathological.
---
So go ahead everyone, prove how cultured and nuanced you all are by continuing to argue over this matter.

4/16/2008 08:37:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its probably the same question asked by Roman citizens as they headed home, tired, sunburnt and belching after a day watching the lions feed at the colliseum.

"Where was their God?"

You are in great company Peter.

George

4/16/2008 09:28:00 pm  
Blogger AA said...

No one who has children would have thought that.

I have children...I thought that.

4/16/2008 09:45:00 pm  
Blogger Luke H said...

Oh PC, you silly billy, don't you realise that God did all those children a huge favour? After all, he bought them to heaven early!

4/16/2008 10:50:00 pm  
Blogger Rebel Radius said...

Excellent post PC and you point at some very relevant questions.

There is always a time to use and indeed promote logic and reason.

As for being anywhere near a stream during HEAVY RAIN warnings, coming from Taranaki as I do, it is common knowledge that one keeps well away from rivers and streams in such conditions.

4/16/2008 11:09:00 pm  
Blogger Andrew said...

On my way home the other night I talked to a PhD student of political science who didn't believe in property rights. I was putting the argument for them.

I had got to the stage where I was saying that in order to be able to pursue happiness (which she accepted as a right), man needs to be able to pursue values to sustain and enhance his life, that this meant he had to be able to pursue material possessions and to control them when his pursuit was successful and that this meant man needed property rights.

The girl accepted that Man had to be able to pursue things but not that he had to then have those things at his disposal, that after he had attained them the government or anyone could just take them from him without violating his freedom to pursue happiness.

I concluded she was quite mad. Would you Berend?

4/16/2008 11:42:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, anyone signing up for a PhD in political science is certifiable.

4/17/2008 01:19:00 am  
Anonymous Michelle said...

There is always a time to use and indeed promote logic and reason.

RR, you're the one with no logic & reason, let alone a brain. Your support & insistence that the government refused the bidding by Canadian Funds for shares in the AIA, shows that you're contradicting yourself? So, stop talking about logic & reason, because you don't act like one that understands them.

4/17/2008 01:30:00 am  
Anonymous Robert Winefield said...

Yes Lindsay, the timing of this question might be unseemly. However I agree with Peter that it is more unseemly to put this bloody catastrophe on the head of blind chance or mysterious celestial friends.

There was fault in this case. The adults on the scene - who had assumed responsibility for the children - proceeded into a mountainous region without checking the weather forcast.

That's mountaineering/hiking 101. I don't buy that bullshit that the Met-service warning fax wasn't received. The Met-service broadcasts its warnings on radio and TV.

Some numb-nuts broke a cardinal rule of the out-doors and they and their organization deserve to be hauled over the coals for it.

Act of god my arse. Gross negligence is the correct description IMHO.

The victims here don't need to be calmed by a priest twittering on about the afterlife.

They need to be baying for blood. Otherwise nothing will ever damn well change at that outdoors pursuit center.

4/17/2008 03:01:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

Robert

Not only that, but they had no back-up plan, no disaster recovery plan, nothing in reserve. I doubt these "leaders" even stopped and thought for a minute about the risks they were running (with other people's children). Not even 60 seconds. Slackers.

Obviously the options were:

1/. God will protect us if anything goes wrong.

2/. God will protect us so nothing can go wrong.

3/. God works in mysterious ways.

That's all the possibilities covered. Can't go wrong with that.

---

The lesson is that if you are taking children on an adventure you must consider the hazards and apply the hierarchy of control, E-I-M. That is, eliminate if possible or else isolate or else minimise. Control the hazard else it can control you.

This sort of material is covered in entry level Site Safe courses for industry. It all seems so obvious and yet people have to re-learn it the hard way time and time again.

There is a second lesson here. If you are sending your children to an adventure camp, make sure you diligence the camp and its staff before you entrust them with your loved ones. If you do not, then how much do you really care? Do you care at all?

LGM

4/17/2008 03:40:00 am  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

proceeded into a mountainous region without checking the weather forecast

When they listened that morning to the weather forecast, which would have told them that heavy rain was on the way, where was their brain -- and where was God?

It is indeed tragic and heartbreaking for everyone involved but I have to dig at PCs quotation that they should check the weather forecast.

PC perhaps the adults on the scene - who had assumed responsibility for the children are frequent readers of Not PC blog where they have followed your advise not to rely on weather forecast because those mathematical models predicting weather are bullshit.

4/17/2008 09:02:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

FF

Did you know that weather "forecasts" rely on a great deal of observation of reality. You know the sort of thing. Stuff like satellite imagery. Stuff like what the ships radio in. Stuff like what the pilots report. Stuff like what the met stations phone in. Put all that together and you can soon find that the Met Office has a reasonable picture of what is going on and how it is progressing.

See, as it happens, the weather does not just occur all of a sudden out of nowhere. It comes in from over the Tasman pretty much. Fancy that. So what that means is that as the weather progresses over the country, people can phone in what they observe and that allows a reasonable expectation of what is coming to be generated for those who have yet to get it. Get it?

And since the prevailing weather comes in fro the same sea and over the same land forms each and every time, it is reasonable to realise that the weather patterns are somewhat predictable.

FF people have been doing this sort of observation for a whole lot longer than they have been using mathematical models to predict...

LGM

4/17/2008 12:28:00 pm  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

LGM, I am well informed about climate modeling and have a deep understanding of it and that is why I am a skeptic and a denier.

I am taking a swipe at PC for not being consistent. He regards weather forecast as something bullshit when it doesn't suit him, but would happily criticized the adults who were supposed to supervise those children that got washed away and died, for not tuning in to the weather forecast. In other words, PC says that weather forecast is a valuable piece of information after all, where they should have tuned in to it.

There have been some posts here at Not PC where weather forecasting is being totally dismissed. Just do a search for it here (perhaps Google the term weather forecast), and you can see why I am checking PC's of where he stands, science/pseudo-science or perhaps he trusts Ken Ring more than MetService/Niwa.

4/17/2008 01:40:00 pm  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

MetService collects data and then feed it to the mathematical models to predict & forecast weather patterns. So, mathematical modeling is involved heavily in daily weather forecasts and this is described in the following page from MetService.

Sizzling seasonings - A beginners guide to the recipe for our seasonal outlook

4/17/2008 01:53:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

Perhaps you've forgotten, FF, that the North Island was being lashed by rain from early on Tuesday morning.

So to hear news the next day that in spite of this a group of people had headed up an enclosed river valley in a mountain range, a place with no escape routes in a place where waters rise so rapidly ... it just leaves one flabbergasted.

What were they thinking?

4/17/2008 03:21:00 pm  
Blogger Duncan Bayne said...

FF(S),

It's really quite simple: complex iterative models are rendered useless by the compounding effects of small errors.

This means that a method of forecasting weather may be usefully accurate when applied to tomorrow's weather, but that does not mean that it would be possible to predict the weather a week (or a month, year or century) in advance with the same level of accuracy.

PC is perfectly correct to praise the use of short-term weather forecasts as a life-saving measure, while criticizing current attempts to predict the weather in the distant future (or, for that matter, in the distant past).

4/17/2008 03:28:00 pm  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

complex iterative models are rendered useless by the compounding effects of small errors

Aha, can you show me some example? I am trying to see whether you're misinformed or not.

This means that a method of forecasting weather may be usefully accurate when applied to tomorrow's weather, but that does not mean that it would be possible to predict the weather a week (or a month, year or century) in advance with the same level of accuracy.

OMG, that is really interesting Duncan, but actually your statement is redundant. It has been known for the last 50 years or so, that the longer time-steps you forecast into the future, the more inaccurate it is. So, you have stated nothing new in there.

PC is perfectly correct to praise the use of short-term weather forecasts as a life-saving measure

No wrong. PC has been criticizing all forms of forecasting (short term or long term). You didn't care to Google for those posts here at Not PC, where forecasting is being dismissed, did you?

4/17/2008 03:39:00 pm  
Blogger Rebel Radius said...

Michelle: I don't want the CPP anywhere near AKL airport for well researched reasons beyond an anti-capitalist stance.

My questions to you.

What other airports have CPP invested in?

Why is little ol' Auckland so important?

If AKL airport is such a good investment why has the NZ Superfund not bought into it?

What is Osprey, who is party to it and what are they investing in?

Do the Canadians opt out of their investments? Who do they flick them on to? Is there a catalyst for this?

Does CPP heavily invest in Sharia compliant companies?

Do some homework and then you can rant, rave, spew venom and I just might lend an ear to your comments.

4/18/2008 12:10:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They prayed to the wrong god, is all; they offended Poseidon...a day or so earlier a guy out horse-riding offended Zeus and was struck down by lightning. Lesson for the week: don't offend the true gods!

4/18/2008 10:37:00 pm  
Blogger Rebel Radius said...

April 12, 2008

"Auckland Airport rebukes DUBAI bid to take it over! Kudos!"

Headlines from Sharia Finance watch.

http://shariahfinancewatch.wordpress.com/2008/04/12/auckland-airport-rebukes-dubai-bid-to-take-it-over-kudos/

4/19/2008 10:28:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there no thread that you cannot turn into something about Muslims?

Get help. You are to Libz what Jeremiah Wright is to Obama. Mad as a cut snake.
********************

PC's post makes a good point - there is nothing wrong about talking honestly about God and I'm tired of the self-righteous piety around the traps. But let's wait until the parents have buried their beloved children.

4/19/2008 02:59:00 pm  
Blogger AA said...

Rebel Radius has clearly commented on the wrong thread here Mr Anonymous

Rebel, did you know that you can delete your own comments if you are signed in?

4/19/2008 06:24:00 pm  
Blogger Rebel Radius said...

I commented as per the thread. If you bother to read the posts you will see that it was not I who deviated from the topic in hand.

As I am now castigated for responding to personal attacks then by the same definition I am open to castigation if I do not.

4/19/2008 06:57:00 pm  
Blogger Rebel Radius said...

By the way Michelle. Who owns the Royal Bank of Canada?

http://www.uaeincorp.com/Search.php?name=canada&whichfield=coname&whichzone=all

4/19/2008 07:00:00 pm  
Blogger AA said...

Oh yeah. Sorry about that although it does seem mighty off topic.

4/19/2008 07:48:00 pm  
Anonymous Chris B said...

What a childish and mean spirited post.

4/21/2008 11:00:00 am  
Blogger MandM said...

Not PC

As you well know the so called problem of evil has been rebutted repeatedly by Christian Philosophers for centuries.

Simply repeating an argument, ignoring the hundreds of rebuttals and accusing people of ignoring it is simply dishonest scholarship.

If you thing contemporary theist like Plantinga or Stephen Wykstra have not provided an adequate rebuttal you need to *argue* this.

You might fool Lindsay into thinking that this kind of sophistry consitutes "rational athiesm" some us a bit more familar with the literature are less impressed.

4/21/2008 01:37:00 pm  
Anonymous Rebel Heart said...

The child's question is much more honest -- at least it looks for understanding, to whit: "Why does God do bad things to good people?"

If you'd like a good book that deals with this question you can check out Where Is God When It Hurts by Phillip Yancey... I'm happy to post it to you free of charge if you'll actually read it - e-mail me if you're interested jesuscrux@hotmail.com

4/22/2008 02:50:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

Yup.. The problem of evil is only a problem is you believe in an omnipotent, omniscient god. Then you soon come to understand that your beloved god is necessarily the source of all evil.

What that leads to is the most incredible outpouring of excuses and bullshit. That there have been centuries of thugs and con-men, criminals and fraudsters, killers and torturers, who have spouted forth all manner of excuses and lies is no validation. It certainly isn't anything to be proud of.

For the rest of us the fact is clear. There is no supernatural afterlife inhabited by god spiritmonster ghost things. Deal with reality. Leave the mysticism for the mentally ill. For example, no amount of praying saved those poor children. No amount of praying ever will. Proper, realistic planning and preparation and a recognition of the reality of the situation would have.

LGM

4/22/2008 06:29:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somehow I just know that you would post something like this PC.

Evangalical Atheists are so classy.

EXOCET

4/22/2008 07:41:00 am  
Blogger MandM said...

I see LGM is reverting to name calling again. Ever heard of the ad hominem fallacy.


The issue is quite simple. Suppose, a tragedy like this happens, suppose further a theist cannot give an answer to the question “why did God allow this?”. Why does this entail that the theist is irrational.

LGM seems to hold to something like the following proposition.

[1]If God exists then God will always inform theists of his reasons for allowing a tragedy to occur.

What’s the basis for [1]. Can LGM give me an argument from premises that a theist is rationally required to accept to the conclusion that [1] is true. Or is he commending I accept it on “faith”.

4/22/2008 02:30:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

I see M&M is completely evading the point again. Ever heard of the red-herring fallacy?

The issue is simple. Suppose a tragedy like this happens. The theist cannot answer the question about why a supernatural god being which is omniscient, omnipotent and all good would cause such a monstrous happenning to occur. MandM seems to consider that evading that question altogether is rational (it is anything but).

If god exists, then he can't be all good AND omniscient AND omnipotent. If he is omniscient and omnipotent, then he is necessarily the source of all evil. That the theist refuses to confront this IS irrational. Or does the theist refuse to think about things that contradict his blind faith?

LGM

4/22/2008 04:51:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

On another point.

If you knew ahead of time that these children were heading towards disaster and you had it within your power to warn them and head them off, wouldn't you do so? Or would you sit back and watch the disaster unfold, a disaster you could have prevented? That course is known as an act of omission. It would be an utterly evil thing to do.

Now presumably the theist would consider failing to assist his fellow man (or children) an evil act. So why does the theist accept such behaviour as good when his god is involved. Blind faith again?

Of course, for an omnipotent, omniscient being such tragedies become far more serious than mere acts of ommission. They are acts of commission. The being is the CAUSE of the disaster, hence is evil.

Simple enough for a theist? Surely so.

LGM

4/22/2008 05:03:00 pm  
Anonymous Rebel Heart said...

LGM's dilemma can similarly be parabled by Genesis:

If God wanted us to develop maturity and discernment, doesn't it seem slightly backward that the tree they were forbidden to touch was said to offer that very thing - the knowledge of good and evil? God says 'if you eat from it you will surely die'. Which is true of course - when they figure out they can try things their own way they pretty much immediately start stuffing things up and killing each other and things. The serpent says of it "You will not surely die, for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." And perhaps that's true too - there's no certainty they'll die; there's a slim chance they'll get it right themselves and not ruin everything. In any case the serpent is just trying to incite them to rebellion - don't listen to everything Mr Big says; don't submit to being His slave. Do what you want.

Some possible solutions to the puzzle:

1) My argument is wrong: God didn't want us to develop maturity etc.; He wanted us to get everything right, and for the world to stay perfect, and therefore when He said He didn't want them to eat the fruit, He meant it.

>>Question: so why put it there? To give them the choice? But if they're better off without the choice, isn't that kinda stupid?

2) God knew all along that they'd take the fruit, and put it there intentionally, so that they'd take it and learn some important lessons - painful though it would be for all concerned - which would ultimately be to their/humanity's betterment.

>>Question: so why does He forbid them to touch it?

>>Question: is it even plausible to say we're somehow better off in a post-fall world? Is that kind of sick and sadistic? Or is that like saying it's sadistic of a parent to take the training wheels off their kid's bike, knowing they'll fall off the first time, but will eventually acquire a new skill?

3) Perhaps it wasn't so much that He was forbidding them, but just that He had to warn them, in all fairness, that it would be a path of suffering, even though it would ultimately be the best.

>>But in that case, why not just say 'kids, you have the following two options - you decide'? Instead, He says 'you must not take option 2'.

4) Perhaps in their auto-pilot state they're not able to make decisions like that anyway, so He has to trick them, and maybe overstate the case a little just to make it more interesting.

>>Hmm, oh dear, interesting questions arise as to the nature of God. Though potentially it could be seen as a parallel to a parent who tells his kid not to cross the road on her own, not because he never wants her to cross the road, but because she's not ready yet, and in this stage of her development what she needs is set rules that will keep her safe. So, uh, we're currently in the state of having disobeyed, strayed onto the road, been hit by a bus, and are now very slowly recovering, and very slowly figuring out how to conduct ourselves better in future - possibly mixed with a good deal of angst directed towards our dad who should have protected us better.

Did God actually intend for us to develop autonomy? Did He create us in order to be ourselves, or in order to be His? Is the whole journey of self-discovery that humanity has been on since then good in God's eyes, or bad? Did He want us to be 'gods' - capable of determining our own future? And if so, are we in some sense genuinely independent of Him now?

4/22/2008 05:10:00 pm  
Blogger MandM said...

LGM

Yes, I know what a red herring is. However, you are mistaken if you think my response consists of one. As I understand you, your argument is [a] If the theist cannot answer the question “why does God not stop tragedy’s from happening?” then his belief in God is irrational [b] the theist cannot answer this question.

Now in my post I asked reasons why I must accept [a], questioning the rational grounds of a premise is not a red herring.

Turning to your arguments.

1. You argue "If god exists, then he can't be all good AND omniscient AND omnipotent. If he is omniscient and omnipotent, then he is necessarily the source of all evil. That the theist refuses to confront this IS irrational."

There are three premises here:
[1] If God is omniscient and omnipotent then he causes all events that occur

[2] A good person does not cause evil to occur.

[3] evil events occur

Now I agree that if the theist accepted (or were rationally required to accept) all three of these both these premises then their continued belief in a good all knowing all powerful God would be irrational. The problem is I ( and most theists) do not accept [2] this is because [2] is false. A good person can and would cause evil, if he had a good reason to do so.

For your argument to be sound then you need the following

[1] If God is omniscient and omnipotent then he causes all events that occur
[2’] A good person does not cause evil to occur unless he has a good reason.
[3'] evil events occur and God has no good reason for causing them

The problem is no theist I know of accepts [3’]. So until I see some argument for the conclusion that God has no reason for allowing these things. All we have is assertion, you simply assert something is the case, something theists reject, and then claim that they are irrational because they don’t accept it.

I am sorry but I am not in the habit of giving up my religion merely because you say so.

Note also the fact that a theist may not know what God’s reasons are is not proof he has none. That would follow only if you assume that if God had reasons the theist would know them.

So again I ask you, what arguments you can give to show that a theist must accept that if God had reasons he would know what they were?. I am yet to see one.

2. You ask “ If you knew ahead of time that these children were heading towards disaster and you had it within your power to warn them and head them off, wouldn't you do so? Or would you sit back and watch the disaster unfold, a disaster you could have prevented? That course is known as an act of omission. It would be an utterly evil thing to do.” Now presumably the theist would consider failing to assist his fellow man (or children) an evil act. So why does the theist accept such behaviour as good when his god is involved. Blind faith again”

My answer is that it would depend. If I had a good reason for not heading them off. Then I could justifiably fail to do so, on the other hand if I did not then it would be evil for me to fail to do so. Moreover Theists ( or at least this one) do not think it is evil to fail to assist your fellow man. If you have a good reason for not doing so.

Your assumption here is again that if God exists he could have no reason that justifies him failing to act. The problem is that this is an assumption and without any reason for thinking its true there is nothing irrational about rejecting an argument based on it.

So I will repeat my original point, where is your argument either for the claim that God has no reason for allowing tragedies, or your argument for the claim that if God exists and had such reasons I or any other theist would know what they were

4/22/2008 09:15:00 pm  
Anonymous benjamin said...

where is your argument either for the claim that God has no reason for allowing tragedies...

Mandm, I can't believe that you presented yourself on your site as a PhD philosopher, and you come up with a stupid argument as you stated above? Look God, simply fails to stand up to scrutiny when is subjected to physical tests and this is facts. What you're promoting is only in your mind (imaginary), meaning there is no way in this physical universe that an experiment is designed to detect God will ever succeed.

Can you tell the difference between reality & imaginary? If so, then please explain.

4/22/2008 09:38:00 pm  
Anonymous Rebel Heart said...

[2] A good person does not cause evil to occur unless he has a good reason.

Retarded. Don't ever say this to someone who is suffering from Hodgkin's disease. In fact, stay the fuck away from hospitals and funerals if this is the kinda shit you're gonna be telling people who are suffering.

4/22/2008 10:06:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an immature and ignorant post. If you dont understand Christian faith, belief, god etc, it would be best not to write about it because you only conme across as a bit of a dick.

If you dont believe in god, why ask where he is? Fool.

4/22/2008 11:26:00 pm  
Blogger MandM said...

Benjamin

I am sorry but calling my argument stupid is not a rebuttal neither is merely asserting that belief in God does not stand up to scrutiny.

To establish that God exists what’s needed is an actual argument. In this case an argument that the evils that exist in this world are such that an omniscient being could not have any reason for allowing them. You can assert and insult till the cows come home it, it provides no rational challenge to theism whatsoever.

Btw. If you or LGM had actually read the contemporary philosophical literature on the argument from evil you would find what I say in fact largely uncontroversial. It’s pretty much accepted by both theists and atheists that the logical problem of evil: the claim that the existence of God is logically incompatible with the existence of evil is unsound pretty much for the reasons I spelt out in my post.

Most of the contemporary literature discusses whether there is compelling reasons for thinking that God has no reason for allowing the evils he does. That is exactly the approach contemporary defenders of this argument such as William Rowe take and its precisely the issue that theists such as Van Inwagen, Plantinga, Alston and Wykstra challenge him on.

You are welcome to insiunate that I am lying about my qualifications if you wish. Silly baseless claims like this are easy to refute and they only serve to show the irrational and dishonest tactics some athiests will stoop too.

Rebel

All you have done is assert that what I write is retarded and then said people who hear it in crisis situations will not be comforted by it. Neither of these provides the slightest reason for thinking it false.

However, I doubt it is as bad as you say, I have recently had a mother die of cancer and lost a child in a miscarriage some years ago. I find the claim that this happened for a purpose albeit one I don’t understand much more comforting than the claim it had no purpose or reason whatsoever. I suspect millions of people who have faith, including the parents of the children in the tragedy this blog is about, would side with me on this one.

4/23/2008 10:16:00 am  
Anonymous David Bisman said...

The tragic deaths of six pupils of Elim Christian School and their teacher have raised the issue of theodicy.

Put simply, theodicy is the issue of God’s justice. In this case, the question can be phrased: “Why did God allow/cause these young (the teacher was only 29) Christian people to die like this? Couldn’t God have prevented it? Why didn’t God prevent it?”

Put more generally, the question is: “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

Various religions and philosophies have attempted to answer this question and come up with various answers ranging from Karma (a concept of cosmic payback originated by Hinduism and further developed by Buddhism) to Kismet (the Islamic concept of Fate that borders on predeterminism (as distinct from the predestination of Calvinist Christianity)), from the Dualism of Zoroastrianism to the capricious trickster gods like Loki, Kali and Maui.

The Bible deals with it in a single Book: Job. This is unusual, even unique, for a Book of the Bible to address a single issue alone.

Unfortunately, due to textual issues and imprudent redacting too complicated to go into here, the basic message of Job is difficult to discern at first glance. It can be best summed up by: “They just do! Now get on with life.”

Death, particularly untimely death, is difficult for us to comprehend but it is, paradoxically, a part of life. God created the universe and set it running by particular rules (according to Judaism and Christianity) and these rules sometimes jump up and smack us in the face. God does not intervene to protect us from these rules or their consequences (except in very rare and unpredictable circumstances called miracles). In the normal course of events, we are all subject to the laws of nature, physics, etc.

Given that, the more important question to ask is: “How do we respond when bad things happen to good people?”

In the case of these young people, it seems to me that the appropriate thing to do is to celebrate their lives. They tried to dedicate their lives to God and to do what God wanted. In the words of Jesus: “…not my will, but thine, be done…” (Luke 22:42b). Therefore, to attempt to use their deaths to diss their religion is, in my opinion, to dishonour them.

The Psalmist said that in his affliction he learned the law of God (Cf. 119:50, 92, 153) so perhaps we can take a leaf from that book and, honouring the lives of these young people, we can learn something of that which they chose to place at the centre of their brief lives: God and God’s word.

Also, out of respect for the dead let us not use their tragic deaths to trash that which they held sacred.

Just some thoughts of an aging Jew in Dunedin!

4/23/2008 12:14:00 pm  
Anonymous Rebel Heart said...

All you have done is assert that what I write is retarded and then said people who hear it in crisis situations will not be comforted by it. Neither of these provides the slightest reason for thinking it false.

Hey, it may be true for all I know, if so then God is obviously a root of evil because no matter how good a reason nobody would cause evil to happen. See my analogy of Genesis above about such a contradiction - something Moses probably failed to consider when he wrote it.

The best answer a Christian can give is God doesn't intend bad things to happen, but will do His best to make good out of it and look after those affected by the bad things. To say He intends bad things for a good reason is just, as I said before, retarded.

By the way, sorry to hear about your mother. Thank God she's in Heaven now then.

The Bible deals with it in a single Book: Job. This is unusual, even unique, for a Book of the Bible to address a single issue alone.

Actually it doesn't deal with it at all... In fact, God completely ignores all the philosophical arguments and simply says to Job: "hey, can you create the universe? Then shut up". He doesn't address the issue at all. It's like a parent who was challenged by a pedophile. The pedophile says, I bet your son wouldn't still love you if he was sexually abused. Then the parent says go ahead. So the child gets raped. Then the child spends all his days wondering why his dad allowed the pedophile to fuck him. Then at the end the parent says, hey kid, can you put food on the table? Then shut the fuck up about your complaining. Here, have a prostitute. The end.

Job doesn't deal with the question of suffering at all, it merely shows some guy suffering then not suffering in the end.

Are you married? Would you be happy if say God killed your wife simply to prove to Satan you'd still be His sucker, and then gave you a new wife to make up for it?

4/23/2008 01:20:00 pm  
Anonymous Rebel Heart said...

In the case of these young people, it seems to me that the appropriate thing to do is to celebrate their lives. They tried to dedicate their lives to God and to do what God wanted. In the words of Jesus: “…not my will, but thine, be done…” (Luke 22:42b). Therefore, to attempt to use their deaths to diss their religion is, in my opinion, to dishonour them.

The same could be said about Christians preaching. Many non-Christians have had many family members/close friends die without knowing God. To then hear some person rejoicing about how they have a relationship with Jesus and are going to Heaven is bullshit in its purest form.

4/23/2008 01:49:00 pm  
Blogger MandM said...

Rebel


Hey, it may be true for all I know, if so then God is obviously a root of evil because no matter how good a reason nobody would cause evil to happen.

Well this is where I think you are wrong. Its not true that a good person would never cause evil even if they have a good reason to.

First, outside of the context of this discussion one does not assume that “no matter how good a reason nobody would cause evil to happen” surgeon’s for example cut into people wounding them are maiming them, this is causing evil. No one considers it evil because they have good reasons which justify their actions. Hence the claim that no matter how good a reason a person has a good person does not cause evil is false.

Second, the claim that a good person does not cause evil unless they have a good reason seems to me almost analytically true. If one has a good reason, a reason that justifies one bringing about evil, then how can it be evil or wrong?

So again the only way one can show that a theist is irrational is if they can show that a theist is rationally required to believe that God has no reasons for causing evil.

The best answer a Christian can give is God doesn't intend bad things to happen, but will do His best to make good out of it and look after those affected by the bad things. To say He intends bad things for a good reason is just, as I said before, retarded.

While I wouldn’t use the word ‘retarded’ I think you are right that those who try and say God does not will that evils occur are making a mistake. God causes the natural events in question, he could stop them, he knows they will happen in some sense then he is responsible. However I did not deny this, what I denied is that a good person never causes evil things to happen. What I maintain is that a good person can do this if he has a good reason for it . Seeing PC has not provided any reason why a theist must believe that God has no good reason for his actions. His contention that there is something irrational about them continuing to believe in God in the face of tragedy is unsubstantiated.

One can make insulting remarks about God and Christians, express outrage, vent ones spleen to ones hearts content but none of this provides any reason for thinking the theist is irrational. Nor is offering silly hyper literalistic interpretations of biblical texts and then making sarcastic comments about these interpretations.

In fact the irony of atheists responding to criticism with emotional outbursts without offering reasons is not lost on me. This kind of response sounds awfully like the kind of emotionally based blind faith I keep hearing PC, LGM et al denounce so much.

4/23/2008 03:43:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

M and M

You are misrepresenting what I put to you. How convenient. Still, how about you stop evading and honestly consider the questions to hand?

---

In review; the first point is that if God were to exist and he were omniscient and omnipotent as you believe, then he is necessarily the source of all evil. Hence he cannot be all good.

Further, as bad as it would be for you or I as individuals to have neglected to assist those children, it is far worse for an omniscient, omnipotent being to so do. He is not merely a person. He is your all powerful, all knowing god, remember. He is the creator of ALL. He is the SOURCE of that evil which befell those children. He is the source of ALL evil. Again, he cannot be all good. THAT is the point I am making today.

You write:

"There are three premises here:
[1] If God is omniscient and omnipotent then he causes all events that occur

[2] A good person does not cause evil to occur.

[3] evil events occur"


Note that in item {2} you are dissembling. Good people do not commit evil. People are good only to the extent that they commit the good. When they commit evil, they are doing evil shit. That's when they are evil.

Now this is very important to grasp. It does not matter that someone dreams up a reason for being evil or doing evil. That's just making up an excuse. Every criminal has a reason for doing evil things. It is the action that counts. When a person is being or doing evil, they are evil. Period.

As the saying goes, "Evil is as evil does."

An example. Were a group of thugs to break into your home, violate you wife, cut off her hands and impale her on a 15 foot pole, it matters not that they may claim to have a reason. That's just an excuse. They are evil scum for doing that. Having a reason does not make the evil that was done good. It is still evil.

Now that's bad enough when dealing with people, but here we are dealing with your alleged omnipotent, omniscient being.

Your omnipotent, omniscient being is not just some mere finite person. He is a supernatural all-powerful god. That he would create evil and then do nothing about it, well, that's just evil.... It's worse, far worse, then anything a mere human could ever do.

That's clear enough to get surely?

---


YOu write: "I am sorry but I am not in the habit of giving up my religion merely because you say so."

Really? Gosh!

Well you should toss it anyway because it is offensive to your faculty of reason and because it is a complete falsehood. Trouble is, you've invested far too much emotionally and intellectually to start looking at it honestly.

---

Last item for now.

Why worship as good that which is evil?

LGM

4/23/2008 04:51:00 pm  
Blogger MandM said...

M and M

You are misrepresenting what I put to you. How convenient. Still, how about you stop evading and honestly consider the questions to hand?

How is questioning a premise you proposed failing to address an issue?
---

In review; the first point is that if God were to exist and he were omniscient and omnipotent as you believe, then he is necessarily the source of all evil. Hence he cannot be all good.


Already responded to this above, the premise that a good person cannot be the source of evil is false. A person can cause ( and hence be the source of evil) if they have a good reason for doing so.


Further, as bad as it would be for you or I as individuals to have neglected to assist those children, it is far worse for an omniscient, omnipotent being to so do. He is not merely a person. He is your all powerful, all knowing god, remember. He is the creator of ALL. He is the SOURCE of that evil which befell those children. He is the source of ALL evil. Again, he cannot be all good. THAT is the point I am making today.


Again already responded to it, simply repeating the same argument over and over, when a rebuttal has been offered is not a rational response. Perhaps I should repeat God exists fifty times, would that mean I had refuted you.



Note that in item {2} you are dissembling. Good people do not commit evil. People are good only to the extent that they commit the good. When they commit evil, they are doing evil shit. That's when they are evil.

Now this is very important to grasp. It does not matter that someone dreams up a reason for being evil or doing evil. That's just making up an excuse. Every criminal has a reason for doing evil things. It is the action that counts. When a person is being or doing evil, they are evil. Period.

…An example. Were a group of thugs to break into your home, violate you wife, cut off her hands and impale her on a 15 foot pole, it matters not that they may claim to have a reason. That's just an excuse. They are evil scum for doing that. Having a reason does not make the evil that was done good. It is still evil.



Well this is simply a straw man. I did not say a person can commit evil provided he “makes up” or “dreams up” any good excuse. I said he must actually have a good reason.

Your position seems to be that a good person can never do evil even if he has a good reason for doing so. In otherwords a person has a good reason: a reason that justifies him doing something that causes evil or harm to others yet is evil if he does it. That entails that a person is both justified and not justified.Which is absurd?


As the saying goes, "Evil is as evil does."

Well the saying is mistaken. An evil is a person who causes evil without justification. If the person has justifying reasons we do not consider him evil. That’s why we acquit people who kill ( i.e inflict the harm) others in self defense. It’s why we don’t prosecute surgeons for maiming others. Its why a person who smashes down your fence ( i.e damages your property) is not prosecuted if he did it to save a child. The mere fact they cause harm is not enough to consider them evil. The issue is whether they have a justifying reason.


---


YOu write: "I am sorry but I am not in the habit of giving up my religion merely because you say so."

Really? Gosh!

Well you should toss it anyway because it is offensive to your faculty of reason and because it is a complete falsehood.



Sorry asserting something is irrational and false is not an argument. If I simply asserted you were irrational and what you believed is false would that mean I had shown you were stupid.

Trouble is, you've invested far too much emotionally and intellectually to start looking at it honestly.

Nor is impugning a person’s motives and character an argument either.

You and PC prat on about following reason. Yet when asked to provide an reasoned argument for your position. Asked to provide rational grounds for your claims what we get is insults, impungements of motives, assertions and then repetition of claims. I other words text book fallacies of logic. What we have not got is an argument for the claim that God has no justifying reasons for causing the harms he does. Until this premise is actually justified it’s an arbitrary assumption.

4/23/2008 07:38:00 pm  
Anonymous JimW said...

Your position seems to be that a good person can never do evil even if he has a good reason for doing so.

M&M, do you think that George Bush is evil because I think not, since invading Irag is a good reason to liberate the oppressed? Whadaya think?

4/23/2008 08:46:00 pm  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Well argued mandm.

4/23/2008 09:11:00 pm  
Anonymous David Bisman said...

Rebel Heart said...

Quoting me: “The Bible deals with it in a single Book: Job. This is unusual, even unique, for a Book of the Bible to address a single issue alone.”

Then replies: “Actually it doesn't deal with it at all... In fact, God completely ignores all the philosophical arguments and simply says to Job: "hey, can you create the universe? Then shut up". He doesn't address the issue at all.”

This is dishonest as it ignores my next sentence: “Unfortunately, due to textual issues and imprudent redacting too complicated to go into here, the basic message of Job is difficult to discern at first glance.”

I stand by that.

Also, I said, “It can be best summed up by: “They just do! Now get on with life.””

This is the consensus of biblical scholars.

So his statement: “Job doesn't deal with the question of suffering at all, it merely shows some guy suffering then not suffering in the end.” Is simply misguided.

Also, the other comments about what a bad God it would be to do these things presupposes the existence of God, do you posit that?

Finally, comparing people people rejoicing in their good fortune with people using other’s bad fortune to diss their most cherished things is simply stupid.

4/24/2008 02:01:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

M and M

"How is questioning a premise you proposed failing to address an issue?"

You didn't state my premise at all. You made your own premise up and ascribed it to me. That's dishonest. You should avoid doing that.

The point remains that if God were omniscient and omnipotent, then he necessarily must be the source of evil. The conclusion is that he can't therefore be all good.

Now, you have NEVER addressed that. Instead you evaded and dissembled into vague ramblings about persons having "good" reasons for comitting evil acts (good is evil eh- as if!). Putting aside that error for a moment, you still need to consider that we are discussing an allegedly omniscient, omnipotent being- the creator of the universe! That is not the same as dealing with a mere individual person. The context is a little different- just a wee bit.

Now where this theistic confusion eventually leads is to the worshipping of evil as good (notice your attempt to imply evil doing by a precious notional god as justified by a "good" reason). This problem is but one of the many tangles theists find themselves getting caught in. There are plenty of others. In the end the contradictions between reality and theism is what undermines theism. An honest man soon realises that he can't hold to reality while continuing to enmesh his mind in the falsehood of theistic mumbo jumbo.

LGM

4/24/2008 06:51:00 am  
Blogger MandM said...

LGM

You write

The point remains that if God were omniscient and omnipotent, then he necessarily must be the source of evil. The conclusion is that he can't therefore be all good.

So we have

[1] If God is omniscient and 0mnipotent then he is the source of all

From which you infer

[2] God is not good.


The problem is that [2] does not follow from [1] unless you also tacitly assume.

[3] A good being can never be the source of evil

If you do not affirm [3] then your conclusion does not follow.

As I have repeatedly pointed out [3] is false. A good being can be the source of evil provided they have a good reason for bringing the evil about

That is not evading the issue. It’s directly addressing a premise and of your argument albeit a tacit one. Either you accept [3] or you don’t. If you do then I have addressed a premise of your argument. If you do not accept this premise then your argument does not follow. Either way your argument is unsound.

Far from not addressing your argument I have addresed it several times. Continually repeating the argument over and over does not change this any more than me saying "God exists" over and over again would rebut you.

To prove that theism is irrational then the skeptic needs to show by argument (not insult or assertion) that God has no reason for causing the harm he does and this argument needs to have premises the theist is rationally required to accept.

If he does not show it then the argument rests on an arbitrary assertion and the theist can simply reject [3]. If he does show it, but the premises are one that a theist can rationally reject, then he can escape irrationality by rejecting the premise.


Jim W

I have written some of my thoughts on Iraq on my blog.

But your point is pertinent. There are times when a good person will even make decisions to go to war even though this results in death carnage and suffering, and they will do this because they have good reasons which justify them doing so.

4/24/2008 10:09:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

M and M

Can't you think so good?

If your god is omniscient and omnipotent, then he is the source of evil. If he is the source of evil, then he can't be all good.

Read that bit again: ALL GOOD.

And again: ALL GOOD.

A being which is worshipped as ALL GOOD can't be the source of evil.

So what's it to be?

LGM

4/24/2008 10:28:00 am  
Blogger MandM said...

A being which is worshipped as ALL GOOD can't be the source of evil.

Again, I disagree; an all good being can be the source of evil if he has a good reason for causing it.

For the reasons spelt out above

4/24/2008 10:17:00 pm  
Blogger libertyscott said...

So there is good reason to create evil?

Sounds so chillingly Orwellian.

It's ok to do bad if it has a moral purpose - the end's justify the means. The ends to which people have to twist philosophy when reason is evaded.

4/25/2008 03:11:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

M and M

Bullshit!

A being which causes evil cannot be all good. Fool!

LGM

4/25/2008 08:47:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

Libertyscott

Yes. I know what you mean. In regards to mangling concepts and violating identity, theists and communists are alike. They worship different godheads; that's about the most significant difference between them.

Evil is good!

Impossible to reason with dishonesty like that.

LGM

4/25/2008 08:53:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read this thread Peter - some of the comments are very funny.

http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2008/05/acts_of_god_hit_virginia.php

5/02/2008 08:56:00 am  

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