Our hike along the “Pilgrim’s Progress” trail will require frequent rests. Plus I want to address every concern and comment. That won’t happen if they’re allowed to pile up.
So. Edohiguma, in this heartbreaking comment, brings up the most popular argument against the existence of God: the existence of evil.
So the bastard gets away, and four innocent people simply die on their way home from holidays.
Edohiguma also mentions post-partum depression. I’ll take a leap here and assume Edohiguma is…a parent? (I just now learned post-partum depression can affect fathers.)
Edohiguma has created life. So let’s forget God for a moment. How does a parent ensure that evil absolutely, positively, never ever happens? It is the parents’ responsibility to teach right and wrong, and to ensure children chose “right”.
And yet children do do wrong. (Sometimes even doo-doo wrong!)
Mankind’s “God-disproving” trope #1 is: if God existed, evil wouldn’t. But that also means…
…parents do not exist.
You’re not convinced? The logic is exactly the same! If loving and perfect parents existed, how could children ever…oh, wait. You’re not perfect, are you? Your best-laid plans go oft awry. Hmm. In that case, there’s only one way you can be sure your infant never becomes the deadly bastard of Edohiguma’s nightmares.
You must strangle it in its crib.
If all parents did that, evil would shortly cease to exist. Yet for some reason they don’t. They stick with imperfect brainwashing and crossing their fingers. But by doing it that way…and allowing others to…they guarantee the persistence of evil.
So forget why God allows evil. Why do you? “I don’t have the power to eliminate it!” you cry. True. Neither does God.
God is not omnipotent, Yes, He is the Creator of All. But “omnipotent” is a nonsense word. God cannot “create a weight He cannot lift.” God cannot create mutually exclusive outcomes, because they are mutually exclusive outcomes.
Well, have I not just proven that, in this world, having a family and eliminating evil are mutually exclusive? Make your choice. So rather than ask why God permits evil, ask: why don’t parents murder their children?
Because it’s the same…exact…reason.
Which brings the forlorn cry, “then why not make us incapable of evil?” Gee, why don’t parents buy robots instead of making babies? Don’t they know what they’re letting themselves in for? That self-willed, unpredictable child guarantees pain and fear and worry. And that’s without the little carpetmonkeys growing into monsters.
So why? Why? Why? Why did God choose offspring? Why did you, Edohiguma?
It’s a mystery to me. But then, I’m a weirdo. Edohiguma (and billions of others) see evil and conclude, “there is no God.” I see it and wonder, “how is it that I can recognize evil?”. Conclusion: “I have a conscience”.
Examining it, I concluded it was calibrated against something. It thrummed in harmony with something objective, some great Tuning Fork. I knew this because compared to it, I was the subjective thing. My thoughts and feelings and opinions are always awhirl, always changing. That conscience? Inviolate and immovable.
And apparently indestructible. I’ve spent my entire life battering against the thing. It is indifferent to argument, pleas, bargains, excuses, curses, wailing and gnashing of teeth.
(And, take my word for this, it is utterly impervious to chemical warfare. You cannot drown it with alcohol, suffocate it with nitrous oxide, deaden it with pot, or dazzle it with acid or X. You can destroy yourself against it, you can blind yourself to it, but you can’t even scratch the paint of the thing itself.)
“I” am a self-referential pattern of constantly changing thoughts and memories and habits. “I” altered enormously over the decades. My conscience did not. It does not. And it will not. Because it is my intersection with the Divine, the Perfect and Unchanging. God, our spiritual Father.
Through our consciences He raises us spiritually, just as parents like Edohiguma raise children physically and mentally. All while knowing those children they love, so very very much, might just break their hearts.
Sorry to run on here. And I’m uncomfortable with all this touchy-feely stuff, so let me retreat into a geometric analogy.
Of course you never see God when beholding evil. Perhaps…Duh!…you’re looking in the wrong direction? Fortunately your conscience isn’t only an “evil detector” it’s also a compass. So pinpoint evil, then pinpoint where you are in relation to it. (You’re human, don’t pretend you have no relationship with evil.) Trace the line from evil to yourself. Now, using your conscience and imagination simultaneously, keep extending the line through you. It is now headed straight for evil’s exact opposite. So draw that line as hard and fast and far as you can! Now turn around.
“Post-partum” I think just means that Edo is back from one of his shortish but regular Japan trips where he sees his loved ones over there.
Thank you. Someone understood it. Have a penguin.
I assume you mean have a penguin to keep and cuddle and cherish, not to eat.
Actually, post partum depression is something only women can have. Or better said mothers. And it was a joke. Meaning I had to leave Japan.
As for conscience. Any conscience can be destroyed. Just like any will can be broken. Oh yes it can. Any human can be broken and re-modeled. His or her mind can be warped, turned over, washed and rinsed. All of it is doable. It has been done countless times before, it will still be done long after us. The human mind and with it the human conscience can be destroyed and re-modeled to whatever you want it to be.
And god is not a parent. My parents are two humans, who also had two humans each. And so on. Not some imaginary friend somewhere. What produced me was a simple act that has been going on ever since life first popped up on this planet. Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it. Us primates, we do it too. It’s natural. Keeping the DNA going. Keeping life going.
And well, if god is all knowing, as I said, then there is no self-willed child. No choice. Because if I, right now, would scratch my butt, god would have known I’d do this 50 million years ago. So it wasn’t really my choice to do so. God knew that I would always do it at exactly this time. Reminds me of the end of the universe in the hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy (I think it was that.)
Take Adam and Eve. God is all knowing, that’s the normal premise. He knew Eve would do this. And yet he threw a tantrum like a 3-year old. Apparently god is not all knowing. He could have prevented it since he is all knowing. Instead he made a rule, knowing very well it would be broken, and then complained. That god fellow sounds more and more like a genocidal maniac and a hypocrite to me.
Take Noah and the ark. God has the power to drown the world and kill all life (and I always wondered what about the life in the ocean, flooding the planet wouldn’t really work there), which is pretty impressive, but Noah has to build an ark to safe himself, his family and all land based lifeforms, despite them being chosen to live by god. God doesn’t lift a finger to help them. Strange. It can create the entire universe but it can’t help a handful of humans from drowning in the flood it made? Uhm… Okay?
Take Hitler. Hitler served and lived through WW1 in France. He was gassed once. Yet he survived and got to make his own little war, taking it out especially on the so called “chosen people” killing 6 million of them.
So if god is not all knowing and all powerful… what’s the point of having it around? That means god is exactly as powerful and knowing as my cat was. That means my cat was equal to god.
Which simply proves that stuff like this exists to execute power over people. There’s no logic in it. It’s a fairy tale (I’m being nice here, the bible, for example, is full of lies about other cultures, namely Egypt and Babylon, written by the Jews with penis envy) written some time ago and people still take parts of it at face value because some nutter claims it’s the word of god.
Of course, my first question will always be: which god? They are not all the same. So which one is the true one? Of course the one you or anybody else believes in. So effectively all gods are the true one. Bloody hell, that’s one crowded pantheon!
Remember Star Trek – The Undiscovered Country?
Kirk had the right question: Why does god need a space ship?
Only woman can have p-p D? But…but Wikipedia…is it truly capable of error? I had no idea.
Sorry, then, for my multiple medical misdiagnoses.
Um. “Why does god need a space ship?” is the right question? To…what?
It’s one thing to disagree, but to say “no logic” to a pedant billing himself as the W.O.R.M.?! Cheeky. I’ve two counter-theories to your statement. Since I’m mildly insulted, I’ll offer the mildly insulting one first: I don’t lack logic; you lack humility. You can’t stand the possibility that you are inferior to at least one Being. I freely admit that being human and atheist has perks, if looking down on others is your thing. (And in my experience with social animals, they’re almost infinitely more concerned with the pecking order than logic. Logic being my obsession.)
Say, when you’re done accusing me of being illogical, maybe you could tell some frogs they’re not amphibian?
My more charitable theory: perhaps you misuse the word “logic”? You do know an argument can be completely logical yet also incorrect, right? “The Sun orbits the Earth” was a logical belief. It still can be, without sufficient context. Marxism is both logical and false.
My belief system is more formally arranged than almost everyone who’s ever lived. You and I just have different axioms. For one: I believe Mind begot matter. You believe matter produced mind. Both are axiomatic; you can’t prove or disprove them. They are what you use to do the proving and disproving.
I can’t individually address the examples you give, as they’re wildly demogogic and chock-full of false or unwarranted assumptions. But here is my paradigm for all that Old Testament craziness: single parent raises unruly children!
New Testament paradigm: kids go into the family business!
Does this seem impossibly blase’ to you? Humanity’s murders, rapes, and genocides as a “family squabble”? It shouldn’t. You’re an atheist; isn’t this simply how animals behave? But of course you believe this is all there is. A few decades of sensation sandwiched between two infinitely thick slices of nothingness.
Whereas I believe this universe is our spiritual womb, just as we once had physical ones. So unlike you, I can take the long view.
P.S.–God’s ability to be “all-knowing” doesn’t mean he always exercises it. In my Troubled Family Paradigm, just because Dad can enter Eve’s room and read her diary doesn’t mean he does. That said, prophecies and the like are beyond my ablility to reconcile with free will. The problem is probably with my perception of time. That is to say, maybe I shouldn’t have one?
But do please note that I see and admit the problematic areas of my beliefs. I await any atheist to admit that we are pure animals. Which means the meme of “right and wrong” is a lie. It persists and thrives because it excuses all the teeming beta animals from their weakness, stupidity, and cowardice.
>>>“I” altered enormously over the decades. My conscience did not. It does not.
Really? For me, my conscience has sharpened; generally, in things I use to think were acceptable and now know are evil. Rarely, (can’t think of one but maybe there is a case), where I thought something was evil, and now know it’s not evil. Maybe this is a “wiser focus” and not real change,
These posts have been very interesting. Thank you and all involved for spending the energy required.
ps. And it was neat hearing of your Parent’s finding God. It’s hard to believe they at one time were not Christian.
Hey, I know I replied to this earlier, it didn’t post! And no time to recreate it properly. So…it’s not your conscience changing, it’s your understanding of it. I have a math analogy. You begin fumbling around in addition and subtraction. But stick with it and soon you’ll be multiplying and dividing and graphing and equating and integrating and so on.
But no matter how advanced your skills and understanding, adding and subtracting stays exactly the same. As you said, sometimes you find you can no longer in good conscience keep doing something. But that’s you finding an earlier miscalculation of yours, not suddenly discovering that algebra itself had changed.
Did that make sense? It was hurried.
Yeah, I can see it that way.
To me spirituality is irrelevant. It’s some fancy-shmancy thing but ultimately irrelevant. What does it change? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I’m not spiritual. Maybe I used to be, as a kid. I mean, it’s like with patriotism. When I was 14 I was a patriot. Then I got drafted and taxed. Since then I’m pretty much healed of it.
Yeah, I guess when I was 7 or 8 I believed this stuff. Eventually reality struck me. When I was a child I thought like a child. Or something like that.
Today I “believe” that if someone attacks people I love, I will hunt and kill him. Painfully. Maybe not even kill him, but mutilate him to a point where he can’t do anything ever again. Well, it’s not really a belief. What do I belive in? That we all die one day. And whatever comes afterwards we’ll find out soon enough. We should focus on the here and now and not on the what happens after we bite the dust. And spirituality is irrelevant for that.
Well, we all know what happens after we die. Decomposition, while somewhat disgusting, is actually amazing as well. What happens to that tiny little thing that makes us human? I don’t know. Anything is possible.
It’s all speculation. Belief isn’t fact. It’s like roulette. Maybe you’re right. Maybe I’m right. You can believe that the little ball will stop on red. I can believe the little ball will stop on black. But right now the ball’s still spinning. All of life is like that. It’s all a game of chance. The very first moment the two cells unite, that’s when the game begins. And it can end at any time for any random reason. It can be over long before we’re born. It happens by plenty of natural reasons (for example the chance of an abortus for women pregnant with the first child is relatively high.) And then, when we’re born, until we die of old age, we’re at risk 24/7.
It’s all speculation. For all we know the Buddhists got it nailed down and we’ll come back in Life 2 – The Sequel. Or maybe the Cheyenne are right.
Though then comes the big issue. The universe itself. We’re finding more and more planets out there. Eventually we’ll find one with life. That is inevitable, especially given the latest estimate for the number of planets in the universe (which is down right creepy.) What then? Or what if we find life that is superior to us primates with our over-clocked monkey brains? It’s all possible.
Edo, why not consider the reluctant believer, CS Lewis. Have you investigated or seriously studied and reflected upon the story of God’s plan for redemption found in Scripture. Your intellect might be insulted by some translations of the Bible so if not the original languages maybe take a look at the English Std version
It’s a matter of perspective.
Was I a sadist for taking my babies to a woman that jabbed them with needles that inflicted not only the immediate pain, but also hours of redness and tenderness of the wounds? Or was I caring for my children by insuring that they were vaccinated against diptheria, mumps, measles and tetanus?
Am I a horrible parent for taking my children to a man that inflicts pain and suffering upon them, installing torturous devices in their mouths that injure their cheeks and lips? Or am I a good parent that takes my kids to the dentist for cleanings, fillings and braces?
God allows bad things to happen.
Like Worm pointed out, the only other option to letting people perform evil is to take away their free will. But what about natural disasters? We don’t know what would have happened otherwise, just like a baby doesn’t understand that getting vaccinated will provide protection later on. Nor do we know the full consequences to those involved. It’s not over for those that die – not if there is an afterlife. They may end up in a better place.
I have some thoughts on the all-knowing God vs free will, but it’s late. I’ll try to get back here this weekend.
Have a good one.
There’s too much to talk too and about, but thought I’d throw in a couple of things.
You have to honor someone like Edo encountering horrible suffering and twisted injustice, so to a large extent that’s just someone’s sacred space and I have to bow respectfully.
From the standpoint of “this is a public discussion,” OK, for religious people (not for Edo, because he does not think the questions have or deserve an answer) it boils down to “Why is there suffering?” and “Why is there injustice?” These boil down in turn to “Why is there evil?” And at the highest level of theological discourse that I’m aware of, the answer is to some extent a variation on “It’s a mystery.” Like, here’s an example, which I’m not touting, just throwing up from a Google search.
So, evil is a problem for religious people in terms of explanation. Can’t get around it. I would only say in defense that it’s a problem for everyone else, too.
1) A non-religious solution is to posit that it’s all a meaningless string of chance events, and that it doesn’t mean anything so screw it. I think it’s only an apparent solution. For instance, I don’t think Edo really believes that. It BOTHERS him that this happened. There’s something wrong about it. It offends some innate sense of empathy and justice. Edo didn’t just say, “So some drunk crashed his vehicle and killed a family of four and walked. So what? Doesn’t mean a f***ing thing. Things die all the time. I don’t care.” The very fact that Edo’s bringing this up implies (at least to me) that evil is unnatural and requires a search for meaning.
2) From a Christian standpoint I just want to mention that, if it’s a mystery, God throws himself right into the center of it. Horrible suffering? Jesus underwent it. Twisted injustice? Jesus was served it. Speaking from my particular sectarian perspective, Christ’s passion is, whatever else it is in terms of redemption, a profound participation in human suffering. Suffering has meaning because God shared it. Likewise, it works the other way; suffering has meaning because it is a participation in Christ’s suffering. He participates in ours as we participate in his. Edo’s poignant question, “Where was God?” has a Christian answer. God was right there. In this life, you can’t get any closer to God than in suffering. (I could back that up scripturally but it takes a long time.)
Not everyone’s cup of tea, of course, but JP II’s Apostolic Letter on suffering goes pretty deep.
I swear, I just don’t know how Worme can come up with some of these zingers.
Thank you! On the really good ones, it doesn’t feel like coming up with them, it’s like coming across them. More like finding diamonds in a mine than squeezing coal into perfection.
If I could do that, they would all be zingers.
I’ve a beloved friend who refuses to acknowledge the existence of God, for much the same reason as Edo. Really Bad Stuff happened to her throughout childhood, and what am I to say? That God was looking down and loving her, yet all the while leaving her to suffer?
All I can do is be honest, and admit that I don’t know why God did not intervene in her particular case, or in any other countless particular cases of sorrow which goodness knows are in no short supply. I told my friend how, for me, she is proof of God’s love, since I felt so blessed to have her in my life (a really great lady just take my word, my guardian angel for awhile).
Sure, on a large-scale, logical level I understand and agree with Wormy, that the existence of evil does not disprove the existence of God. Also I really like your “child or robot” analogy. It’s an excellent way to explain how, without the ability to choose between good and evil, we would not even be human, but mere machine.
The logic isn’t enough to overcome the personal offense of pain and suffering to some, I guess, but thanks to Xpat we do have the reminder that Christ suffered too, and not for nothing.
My mom’s hospital roommate comes to mind now, as I ponder our various responses to suffering. This roommate has advanced ALS and can move nothing but her head. She types with a computer that detects eye movement. Even before we chatted I saw by the light in her eyes that she was a saved soul. Suffering has not rendered life a meaningless gamble for her.
Even as a Christian, I wonder at her ability to rely on God while she slowly loses everything. She is an example I will not soon forget. It’s all terribly sad, but her strength gives me hope, and then I feel bad because I don’t want to be flippant and find personal benefit in her pain, but I also don’t want her strength to mean nothing.
hoo, it’s late and I’m rambling. Also, my mom is doing better everyday and should be out of the hospital soon.
My best to the lot of you