David Wood still baffles me. He has commented on what I wrote in this Blog entry of mine. Sandlestraps had the first comment there, and he is arguing the same things I am from his Christian Process Theology perspective against Mr. Wood. Here is my response to Mr. Wood (DW):
DW: (1) John gives tons of examples of how horrible and selfish human beings are.
Thank you. We must come to grips with what we are talking about when we’re talking about the suffering human beings experience at the hands of other human beings.
DW:(2) I would say that, if God is just, he isn't obligated to protect horrible and selfish people from pain.
That’s pretty much all of us, correct? That is, God is under no obligation to help any human being because we are all horrible and selfish people (in varying degrees). Would you say we deserve everything that we suffer? All of us? Including the 40,000 children who die every single day because of malnutrition, which could be alleviated by the food donations of good people, the elimination of tyrannical governments, and a good God sending manna from heaven?
How exactly is this “just” from your perspective as a Christian? I don’t see it. God purportedly created us, correct? Do you see an inconsistency within your own beliefs with a supposedly “just” God creating us in such a way that we would be so horrible and selfish in the first place? Do you see an inconsistency with a supposedly “good” God who created us with more freedom to do such things than we could actually handle? If God is as good as one of us horrible parents, he would do the same things we would do, by not giving our children more freedom than they can handle. Good parents do not grant 10 year olds permission to drive the car to the store, nor will they give them a razor blade until they know their children won’t hurt themselves or others with it. Why? Because it’s the ethical thing to do, that’s why, and it's based upon YOUR ethics. Such an ethic can be found within the text of that Good ‘Ole Book you love, which purportedly came from your God.
DW:(3) John objects: "But if God is good, he would still give us a perfect world."
If he could’ve done this as an omnipotent being, then yes he should’ve done do. I have argued that God could’ve created us with imperishable bodies in a heavenly world in the first place. Even if this present world isn't perfect, why isn't it better?..that's the real question. We all would expect a much better world than he purportedly created. You yourself must admit this isn’t the world you would expect if there existed an all-powerful omnibenelovent God. You are arguing against the goads here, and inside you know it. That’s what frustrates you so much, and why you are planning on doing your dissertation on this topic; because it bothers you…because you want to understand it yourself…because you don’t have the answers and you want to satisfy your own need to find them
DW:(4) This reflects his own values, not of mine or those of theism.
How so? I’ve argued from the moral code you yourself believe in the Bible. Good parents act better than the God who teaches them how to love and care for their children.
DW:(5) Hence, John is yet again presupposing his own values in his argument.
Again, not so. You really ought to ignore the ignorance over at Triablogue. Let me add here that what I am doing is what Francis Schaeffer did when he tried pushing someone to see the implications of what that person himself believed. That’s what I am doing with you. The fact that you reject my pushing you in the direction I am, doesn’t mean I’m arguing outside of the things you believe, at all. You simply misunderstand the nature of what I’m doing, as I think you also misunderstand what your beliefs commit yourself to.
DW:(6) But this means that his argument only works if he's using it against someone who has the same values John Loftus has.
Again, not so. You misunderstand this, and I am very surprised that someone like you doesn’t see this for what it is. You should know better than to throw up freshman type of arguments like these. I’ll expect you to do better as you become more familiar with the relevant literature. But as I said, your objections here are worthless (sorry but they are). Why don’t you think about what I just said here, instead of firing back? I’m trying to help you, but you need to step up a level before I can do so. For until you admit this whole line of reasoning is baseless and wrongheaded, you will not make a Christian contribution to the problem of evil at all.
DW:(7) This is one reason why theists aren't affected by John's argument.
Another reason might be because some theists are blinded by their faith, while another reason might be because some theists are not (or cannot) make the proper distinctions that are necessary (see above).
DW:(8) Thus, John either needs to reformulate his argument so that it doesn't presuppose his own values (e.g. that free will isn't very important, that there's nothing good about creating a world, that rebellion against God isn't very bad, etc.), or he needs to recognize that his argument doesn't work with anyone who has a different value system (i.e. most people in the world).
Exactly why can’t I wonder about the nature and value of free will from a Christian perspective? Christians themselves, if they are honest, do this, and they do so inside their own perspective. So why can’t I join in their conversation and argue what I do about free will? Plenty of philosophers of religion are atheists. Why can’t they argue about the internal inconsistency of the religious beliefs they reject?
Besides, 1) I’m asking for a reason why you believe free will is so important that God will grant human beings this gift even though Biblical morality would argue no one should give someone a gift if he knows said person will abuse that gift? Why does your God forbid one thing and yet do something else here? 2) I’m asking you for a reason why you believe God created this world even though you believe God is the all-sufficient One. 3) I’m asking you for a reason why our sins are such terrible things that God would punish us in the horrible ways we have had to suffer down through the ages. I can ask you for reasons why you believe these things and then question those answers, can’t I? Sure I can. You simply cannot respond by asserting that this is what you believe. That’s unbecoming the budding scholar you seem to be. You cannot simply assert the things you do here. You must make a reasonable case for your beliefs. The philosophy of religion is about defending what you believe with reasons. What are they? Not doing so will not advance any argument, and you’ll offer nothing to the Christian community who may look to you in the future for some answers in the face of the skeptical arguments. Surely you see this…surely.