Natural Disasters As Part Of The Problem Of Evil

(Resolved! God Caused The Problem of Evil/Needless Suffering.) This article briefly discusses Natural Disasters as Part Of The Problem Of Evil. I argue that the problem of Evil was caused by God and his process of Creation. While I suspect that almost no one will dispute that natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcano's, tsunami's, hurricanes, tornado's and such are caused by natural seismological and meteorological processes, I claim that if there is a God, the way he made the earth guarantees that they will happen.

Some argue that Natural Disasters are not Disasters unless they affect people. I think Bambi and Peter Singer would disagree with this definition, but it works for this article. The intersection in this to the problem of Evil is that mankind is supposed to have brought the PoE on himself by disobeying god in the early days of its interaction with him. I avoid saying Adam and Eve because I think most people accept that there were people on the earth before 6000 - 10000 years ago. If natural disasters affect people and cause suffering and is used by clergy as an example of Gods Judgment and punishment on humanity, then it doesn't seem to follow from the fact that it happened before humans were humans, Adam and Eve or not. And if one argues that Natural Disasters happen anyway but sometimes are directed by God, then I call into the question the moral principles of group punishment especially when some of the punished are undergoing treatments to keep them alive in hospitals, toddlers and babies. Maybe some of you don't know this but a group of doctors in a hospital are under suspicion of 'hastening nature' because a disproportionate number of their terminally ill patients died within a couple of hours during hurricane Katrina.

I suppose one could say that God knew that mankind would disobey God so he made the earth this way as a result of foreknowledge, but then I have to wonder why make man in a way that would guarantee that he would 'malfunction' and need to be kicked around by the environment. If god was omniscient, and he knew everything ahead of time, including what choices we would make throughout our life and who the saved would be, then we only have the appearance of free will. But that debate is not the point of this article or necessary as a premise.

So if God created the world he created in such a way that it is constantly changing, and these changes seem to be necessary for it to work properly. These changes affect one another sometimes to a frightening degree causing the events that HUMANS PERCEIVE as disasters and "Gods Judgment". These events are a result of and necessary for the ecology of the earth. They have nothing to do with Mankind. Mankind just happens to live in its path. They happened before mankind showed up, and will happen after he is gone, and in fact may cause mankind's extinction.

44 comments:

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

One thing which struck me reading this post was the phenomenon which occurs every year (really, every "happy" holiday), in which a local news outlet will run a story of a holiday miracle, an unexpected recovery from certain doom, or something similar.

These contrived articles are nothing more than propaganda, and are deliberately misleading.

The Problem of Evil and the Problem of Suffering are not each suddenly silenced on Christmas Day, or any other day. To run a story which only mentions some arbitrary person's happy circumstance specifically because it occurred on a "happy" holiday is clearly misleading, and is in fact a deliberate effort at hiding the truth.

Granted, many people bemoan the frequency with which news outlets report "negative" news, but the crime of over-reporting "negative" news is exactly the same as cherry-picking some "happy" (and bullshit) news item to be run on a "happy" holiday.

People [needlessly] suffer and die on Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving every bit as much as they do on any other arbitrary date. By running these "happy" stories on "happy" holidays, news outlets intentionally misrepresent the date as somehow immune to the evil and suffering innocent people must constantly endure, which promotes exactly the same error as is inherent in the belief that a tragedy is "God's judgment".

No, and no. Suffering also happens on "good" days, and tragedy happens for no apparent reason.

--
Stan

zilch said...

Speaking of tragedy and suffering- that reminds me of one of the Hundreds of Proofs of God's Existence:

36. ARGUMENT FROM INCOMPLETE DEVASTATION
(1) A plane crashed killing 143 passengers and crew.
(2) But one child survived with only third-degree burns.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

Jason said...

I would agree with most of your article but I'm not sure what the aim of it is...?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Jason,
It is an argument that I am going to use as a premise in a complex argument that I am building up to.

Glad you agree, thats one less premise to argue with you about.
;-)

Jason said...

I guess what I'm asking is what is it about natural disasters that disproves the existence of God?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Jason,
just to be clear, I don't think anything DISPROVES the existence of god but I do think that once you iterate through and scratch off enough claims, you can reasonably deduce that if he's there, he's not the god christians think he is.

did you ever wonder why the alpha and the omega had any need to change the way he did things?

Have you ever noticed that as you go from genesis to revelations, god goes from walking around the garden, to living in the mountains only able to show his butt to moses, to trying not to step in poop in israelite camps, living in the sky worried about a tower that the ancients can't possibly get higher than 500 - 1000 ft tall, to living beyond the clouds, to becoming undetectable, to being a huge butthead to being the perfect lamb, to being a disembodied spirit, to being three in one, kind of at the same pace as technology, and humans developed?

Did you ever wonder why its okay to send a probe outside the solar system and create the internet but the ancients were threatening god by speaking one language and building a zuggarat?

Did ya ever wonder about that?

Did you ever wonder why everyone thought that yahweh/jehova whatever was one of a pantheon of near eastern gods that subsequently got relegated to myth leaving only the jewish culture and their syncretized war god that couldn't help them defend themselves so that the egyptians, assyrians, babylonians and the persians kept beating them down?

Doesn't that pique your interest a little bit to see why the most powerful being in the universe cared for that bunch of rascals so much? Why not all people and cultures equally? He loved em all so much, and there should have been enough of him to go around. It just doesn't make any sense.

did you ever notice the similarity of ABRAHAM to the Indian god BRAHMA? The hindu religion is the oldest known you know. Isn't that odd?

do you know what syncretism is?

Did you ever wonder why God thought there was such a thing as witches? And do you wonder if he feels bad since so many non-witches were killed because of that? I guess he made a mistake and he's not really omniscient.

Jason said...

Right.

So assuming God is there, what is it about natural disasters that poses a problem?

GordonBlood said...

Did you ever wonder why everyone thought that yahweh/jehova whatever was one of a pantheon of near eastern gods that subsequently got relegated to myth leaving only the jewish culture and their syncretized war god that couldn't help them defend themselves so that the egyptians, assyrians, babylonians and the persians kept beating them down?

Doesn't that pique your interest a little bit to see why the most powerful being in the universe cared for that bunch of rascals so much? Why not all people and cultures equally? He loved em all so much, and there should have been enough of him to go around. It just doesn't make any sense.

did you ever notice the similarity of ABRAHAM to the Indian god BRAHMA? The hindu religion is the oldest known you know. Isn't that odd?

In response to the first of those three questions Lee the empirical evidence for that assertion is incredibly weak both textually and in the remains we have of that period. If you expect Christians to show skepticism you may wish to display some yourself to arguments that are in fact quite poor and certainly not a fact by any definition of the term.

The second question I think can very simply be answered by the word GRACE. However, the Old Testament makes it clear that God gives blessings to all people (thus the demands in Deuteronomy to love strangers). I recognize that this is not a terribly robust response but given the fact this isa blog its not exactly warranted.

The third line of thought is simply rediculous from a historical perspective.

Harry McCall said...

Interesting thesis Lee.

You opened the door about the judgment of the judgment of God on the doctors: “Maybe some of you don't know this but a group of doctors in a hospital are under suspicion of 'hastening nature' because a disproportionate number of their terminally ill patients died within a couple of hours during hurricane Katrina.”

If that theory is accepted as correct by the God Fearers, than the 8 people who were with Howard Carter and died within a dozen years after opening the tomb of Tutankhamen did acquire the famous “Curse of the Pharaohs”.

I like the old expression made famous on bumper stickers and on Forrest Gump: Shit Happens.

As I stated in my last post; God is trying to survive on philosophical live support. Since bad events far exceed any good events in nature exponentially, you are trying to remove what last few logical feeding tubes God has left. The fact that no one commented on my post that God is only a philosophical construct confirms this fact.

Most of the debates with God Fearers here at DC have to look at the negative aspects to discuss God since he remains in this Post Biblical vegetative state.
At best, with God Fearers and churches repeating prayers over and over for help, I would have to say that God had acquired Alzheimer’s disease just before his post Biblical vegetative state.

Harry McCall said...

The Bible is like an elderly senile citizen who is usually incoherent and out of touch with reality. But, because of the love of her children (the believers) and through denial of reality along with some creative ingenuity, she (the Bible) is lovingly taken by the arm and theologically helped to shuffle along.

GordonBlood said...

Whether or not God exists, Harry, is itself a philosophical/historical/scientific question. If God does not wish to make his existence so blatant to everyone that they are forced to believe without even consideration that is well within his right. To dismiss said existence as a result of that is simply nonsense, even a person with no religious/philosophical education can quickly point that out. Really Harry your complete dismissal of theodicy (and almost complete comittment to the problem of evil disproving God's existence) is a very simplistic view of the far more complicated situation.

Derek said...

So, Jason. Let's assume God is there. There is nothing inherently wrong with natural disasters, but when some people claim they are punishment by God, problems arise. All the people effected by the disaster can't possibly be guilty, can they? I mean, even children? Vacationers just showed up en mass to the place half way around the world where God chose to smite them? Is a seemingly wanton act of aggression something mankind is supposed to relate to and therefore straighten up and fly right?

To make an analogy, let's say a father of ten comes home to find one of his children disobeyed him. So the father beats the child - PLUS he chooses at random (to his victims at least it's random) three of his other children to beat. You know, to teach them a lesson, too.

Now, maybe he selected the eldest of his children and they understand the "lesson" they received. But what if he chose to teach this "lesson" of disobedience to his 6-month old child? Isn't that morally wrong as the child can't possibly understand why s/he is being punished - and especially punishment for someone else's disobedience.

Perhaps today the father decides to throw objects at the children in the hopes that whomever is struck will learn the lesson he teaches. If a child dies by these violent actions, well then the remaining nine better understand soon that they could be next if they don't behave properly.

There is no use arguing or reasoning with this father because he knows what is best for his children. And they are his children to raise as he pleases, right? You know, maybe someday these children will understand the "lessons" they were so lovingly given. That it was for their own good and it hurt father more than it hurt the children.

This father has the ability to punish only the guilty party. Using intelligence (and loving compassion), he could choose to correct the child's behavior instead of just taking out aggression on a weaker being(s). Positive reinforcement directed to an individual begets more positive results than random violence does. The threats will eventually bring dissent.

To blame natural disasters on God's wrath for mankind's wickedness is wrong on so many levels. These actions aren't incomprehensible, they are straight up immoral. The Bible illustrates God can punish individuals. Remember Lot's wife? Jonah? Etc... So why chose mass murder by natural disaster? Is it laziness? Is there better news coverage with tsunamis than pillars of salt?

The above father's behavior by most would seem deplorable and he would likely lose his children both legally and personally. Why should a perfect deity be given a free pass on similar behavior? And "Because I said so!" or, "Because I'm your father!" aren't a real answers.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Jason,
So assuming God is there, what is it about natural disasters that poses a problem?

I'll sum it up for you.
Natural Events happen. People are affected. They get labeled "natural disasters". Some people think it is Gods Judgment. Its probably not since it happens whether there are people or not. Since the god hypothesis has been undermined by the the 'shit happens' hypothesis, then we can scratch the 'god hypothesis' off the list of likely causes for hurricane katrina and tsunami's etc.

See? I said "scratch off the list". that was a reference to my previous comment where I said 'iterate through claims' scratching them off.

I soundly debunked "natural disasters" as part of the problem of evil.
;-)
Now I'm moving onto the "test" as part of the Problem of Evil.

It's basically just the same stuff harry said but in a different way, which happens a lot around here.
;-)

Lee Randolph said...

Hi GordonBlood,
you are really an atheist pretending to be an christian right? You response below was just so awesome I can't thank you enough.

In response to the first of those three questions Lee the empirical evidence for that assertion is incredibly weak both textually and in the remains we have of that period. If you expect Christians to show skepticism you may wish to display some yourself to arguments that are in fact quite poor and certainly not a fact by any definition of the term.


Its only weak if it stomps on your belief system. But okay, I'll play. I'll stipulate its weak. Now lets see what evidence it competes with in force and weight.
The Bible. Where are the original texts? Who were the writers? Why is it so similar to the other texts of the other cultures in the near eastern region. Why is it real and the other texts not? Why is/are the religions of the Canaanites religion who the israelites were derived from myth and not truth?

The bible. We don't know where the originals are.
the bible. We don't know why the texts were chosen from any of the others.
The bible. We don't know why its so similar to other texts in the region.
The bible. We can't find the evidence we need to verify much of the important claims in it.
The bible. We can't figure out what jesus was thinking in Matt 16:28 or Mark 16:17-18.
The bible. We can't figure out what is the value in punishing souls for eternity, why not just disopse of them?
The bible. We don't know why it is true and the Upanishads, the Bagavadgita or the pali canon, for example are not.

A belief should come from a reason, which should be derived from logic which be based on evidence. Where is the evidence for christianity that trumps the other religions?

The weight and force of the evidence for the Bible being everything its said to be is stronger? Have you been even casually keeping up with the consensus of Archeologists in the Near East? They don't support the Claims in the Bible. They don't disprove god, but they sure don't support the claims of the Bible.

Christians are not interested in any evidence that intrudes on thier personal belief system. Good luck even getting a Baptist to agree with a catholic. They are even skeptical about themselves, but they all agree on one point, There is a god and there was a jesus. Thats it. What a consensus!

poor argument (tap, tap, tap on my chin) how about "do not suffer a witch to live". Secular evidence to the contrary debunked that one.

hmmm, condoms are not as important as not spreding HIV, hmmmm, I think I can make a case to show that this bit of Dogma is totally insane.

hmmmm, darkness during christs crucifixion, hmmm, I'll bet nasa has it thier database of eclipses,......no its not there....

the dead getting up and walking around as described in the new testament, hmmm, not corroborated by anything else....

the sun staying up ovenight during a battle, hmmm, let me see, no, no other culture or documentation supports that claim and from what we know about the laws of physics, it would have destroyed the earth.

lets scratch those off out list of biblical claims in our set of claims that support the bible as truth, but you're right, this is a blog, not anything important.

hmmm, evidence, thats a big word, very important word for all concerned. if the bible is not true, you don't know anything about God. And for devine revelation, it sure does have a lot of ambiguity and "mystery" to it.

What is the point of divine revelation if its a "mystery"? That undermines the whole point of revelation!!!!!!
Duh!

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Gordonblood
the Hindu god Brahma lives because if he does not wish to make his existence so blatant to everyone that they are forced to believe without even consideration that is well within his right. To dismiss said existence as a result of that is simply nonsense, even a person with no religious/philosophical education can quickly point that out.

Man that sounds familiar, where have i seen that before.....

GordonBlood said...

Perhaps I am thinking of someone else Lee, but you have certainly become far more fundamentalist in your atheism/agnosticism. As a Christian I can easily say the sun did not actually stop in the middle of the day or whatnot and was a myth. Frankly I couldnt care less. Likewise, witches do and have existed, whether or not they actually had any power is a seperate question entirely and one which I would answer in the negative. Other issues you trumpet on about are quite erroneous, for example the idea there is no material evidence for the exodus is erroneous because we wouldnt expect there to be very much (most of it has been lost to the sands of time). I dont even know what you mean about the bible being "truth" as such, unless you are blatantly assuming biblical inerrancy, which seems to be the rabbit hole you've jumped in. Sure, most Christians outside of the southern United States consider biblical inerrancy untrue and un-biblical, but lets just forget that point shall we Lee? You are making mountains out of molehills frankly Lee, to expect us to have "originals" of biblical documents is ludicrous from an archeological perspective. You know this of course and the massive amount of your "arguments" are simply arguments from ignorance (Why does God do x instead of y) You certainly are polemical Lee but most of your claims would easily be answered by a first-year religious studies student without much problem. As for the "concensus" in Near-Eastern archeology the problem is there really isnt one. Its not a much done enterprise and much of it is based on pure speculation. Whether or not you will give Kenneth Kitchen the respect he deserves as an archeologist because he is a Christian he certainly puts many in their place in his On the Reliability of the Old Testament. Unfortunately Lee, whether you realize it or not, you are more than willing to believe nonsense to attack the Judeo-Christian theological system, the very fact you would say something as rediculous as "Abraham" being somehow influenced by "Brahma" proves that point well enough.

Harry McCall said...

Great logics Lee with Gordonblood!.

I’ve always said a debate could simply be a negative vs. positive or an “is so” vs. an “is not” type of debate.

But you also see the logic that if Gordonblood wants to defend some logic of God, then he must accept and defend all other religions with the same logic…as point David Hume made. Even the Biblical writers knew there were other Gods when they wrote: “You shall have no other gods before me”. Since Gordonboold denies the reality of an Israelite society who swam in a sea of many other very real gods, ancient Israelites would consider him an Atheist.

Gordonblood’s logic is a lot like the battered house wife who everyone can plainly see is totally wrong in staying with and defending her abusive husband, plus the jerk husband should be in jail. But the battered wife will not press charges claiming it’s just as the drunken husband said: “It’s all my fault! I’m the one who drove him to drink and I deserve the beatings I get since I’m not a good wife.” For her, reality or a world view is that of her drunken husband with whom she is bound by social needs.

Gordonblood is probably a very active Christian who is not defending some type of philosophical god as much as he is defending his social religious belongings in a society where one must back the chosen “sport team” or be ostracized from the sect; something religion is greatly know for.

Jason said...

Natural Events happen. People are affected. They get labeled "natural disasters". Some people think it is Gods Judgment. It’s probably not since it happens whether there are people or not.

‘Probably not’ doesn’t mean every single natural disaster that’s ever occurred hasn’t been caused by God. It's kind of an impossible argument because no one (Christian or atheist) knows for sure whether God caused these disasters or not.

GordonBlood said...

Harry you are one to talk abouts "great logics" by responding with ad hominem remarks. Firstly, even if the Israelites believed in other Gods (which, at the very least many did)it neither entails that they actually existed nor does it entail that one would be an atheist if one didnt believe in those Gods. In fact that is simply a statement laced in ignorance (atheism, by definition, is the non-belief in theism). Asides from committing the genetic fallacy against a belief, you also have it flat wrong anyways Harry. The fact is im an 19 year old university student in Canada, im certainly not pressured by my community to be religious. It is precisely for this reason that very few persons respond to your posts Harry, most of them, quite frankly, are vacuous.

Jason said...

Derek said: There is nothing inherently wrong with natural disasters, but when some people claim they are punishment by God, problems arise. All the people effected by the disaster can't possibly be guilty, can they?

Sure they can. Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

I mean, even children?

How God chooses to judge children is entirely up to Him. If you knew salvation was given to every child who was ever killed, would you sleep easier?

Is a seemingly wanton act of aggression something mankind is supposed to relate to and therefore straighten up and fly right?

It worked for the Israelites.

To make an analogy…

Sorry, I don’t see how the analogy accurately relates to God and natural disasters. :)

To blame natural disasters on God's wrath for mankind's wickedness is wrong on so many levels.

Sure it is. And the opposite point of view is just as wrong. The point is, no one knows which disasters have been directly caused by God.

These actions aren't incomprehensible, they are straight up immoral.

Why?

The Bible illustrates God can punish individuals. Remember Lot's wife? Jonah? Etc... So why chose mass murder by natural disaster?

Great question. Unfortunately, it’s one only God can answer.

Why should a perfect deity be given a free pass on similar behavior?

Probably because of the “perfect deity” part.

Harry McCall said...

Gordonblood stated: “Firstly, even if the Israelites believed in other Gods (which, at the very least many did) it neither entails that they actually existed nor does it entail that one would be an atheist if one didn’t believe in those Gods. In fact that is simply a statement laced in ignorance (atheism, by definition, is the non-belief in theism).”

So Gordonblood, you, as a Bible believing God Fearer are denying the Mosaic bases for the first commandment! Apparently, Yahweh though the other Gods where so real that he made this legal code first commandment. The fact that Israel kept going after “other Gods” or “strange Gods” means their religion did not have any substance in the first place.

By denying ANY other religion - present or past - as having a “false God” or that it’s untrue religious system, you are, BY DEFAULT, an Atheist in their view: Like it or not. Gordonblood can not play “goody two shoes” in protecting the Biblical God, then turn right around and deny any of the Indian Hindu’s Gods or even the past Gods of South America natives. Put that in your religious pipe and smoke it!

I’m the type of person that (if I lived at the time of Samuel) would have kicked the damn Ark of the Covenant over just to challenge Yahweh! Just to see what this “God in a Box” would do. Point being, that all religious concepts have Gods that act in their holy literature, but they are myths apart from that.

Gordonblood, face it! All you’ve got is a philosophical concept backed up with a religious myth called the Bible. Sorry, but Santa Clause is not real.

So, just how do you get this God of your’s to function? Make Him do some thing to me within the next month: make me severely sick; hell, pray for Him to kill me! I don’t get a damn because He IS NOTHING BUT A PHILOSPHICAL CONCEPT and you’ll have as much luck praying to the Hindu Krishna!

Oh yes, Gordonblood, I’ll finally die 20 years form now and you’ll say (if you, yourself make it that long) “See! God finally got him!” Give me a break!

If your impotent Christian God and his son Jesus can not answer a Christian mother’s pleadings in prayer to heal her sick child who is dying with inoperable brain cancer, then your religion is a cruel joke and your Jesus is indeed a liar!

Michael Ejercito said...

It should be noted that natural disasters would have no harmful effect on people if it were not for the fact that they are subject to death.

How people became subject to death is explored in the Book of Genesis.

GordonBlood said...

Harry, the word theism means a belief in theism. That is a belief in a God that has some level of providence over the world. Atheism denies that. For a person who went to seminary you should know this. The 1st commandment doesnt even necessarily imply that those Gods actually exist in an ontological sense, only that other persons believe in them as existing. Clearly Harry you are an over-emotional man, frankly I would never pray for your death or any other persons death. The very idea that I could make God "function" really shows just how immature an angle you are coming from on this question. God, I believe, has answered prayers; the question of why he doesnt answer more is of course tied up with theodicy, free-will, and the way God wishes to interact with his creation (A God who constantly interferes, even if it only doing good, would still be a tyrant in my eyes). Given your fundamentalist tones Harry one would think you wouldnt expect God to answer all prayers given the fact that he didnt even answer Jesus nor those of the early-church at all times (My point here is simply that it is a very orthodox position to say that God does not always answer prayer, and indeed may not blatantly answer them very often). Certainly the early church did not see death and dying as a reason to stop believing in the ressurection, namely because they are entirely different and have no holding on each other. Jesus's ressurection and the existence of evil in the world are two very seperate events. The fact that many of the earliest Christians (including, at least, James) faced painful deaths, WILLINGLY, really forcefully makes your entire point about Christianity being a religion that somehow promises no death, sickness etc absolutely incoherent. Im not quite sure what you mean by the bible being a myth, mainly because its very vague. If you mean the bible has myths in it im fine with that, one would expect it to use myth and legend to convey ideas. However, if you want to argue that it is completely devoid of historical informations or whatnot you are simply being narrow-mindedly polemical. Lastly, if you really want to compare belief in Santa Claus to belief in God... well il hold back on comments, but noone comes to believe in Santa Claus at an older age but many have come to belief in God at an old age after much consideration. The two phenomena are exceptionally different and it is intellectually dishonest to say otherwise.

Lee Randolph said...

HI Gordonblood,
Likewise, witches do and have existed, whether or not they actually had any power is a seperate question entirely and one which I would answer in the negative.
Witches that don't have power. hmmmm, then by that definition i am a philosopher. Worthy to take my place among hume, kant, mill, aristotle, russell, singer, grayling, loftus, ;-) (little brown nosing never hurts)

Other issues you trumpet on about are quite erroneous, for example the idea there is no material evidence for the exodus is erroneous because we wouldnt expect there to be very much (most of it has been lost to the sands of time)
wrong. Scientists do a lot with sattelites and various types of spectrum imaging now. According to what I have read and heard, compared to other known cultures that move around like that, there is no comparison. there is none. There were other nomadic groups in the period, and evidence of them can be found. But not anything specific to the israelites. Cultures leave behind artifacts, they can't help it.

I dont even know what you mean about the bible being "truth" as such, unless you are blatantly assuming biblical inerrancy, which seems to be the rabbit hole you've jumped in.
simple.
think "folklore" then think "truth", then think "where is the demarcation point" and you'll get a glimpse of my perspective.

You are making mountains out of molehills frankly Lee, to expect us to have "originals" of biblical documents is ludicrous from an archeological perspective.
maybe, but to give as much authority to documents that are copies of copies is just as much making mountains out of molehills.

You certainly are polemical Lee but most of your claims would easily be answered by a first-year religious studies student without much problem.
Why does it take a first year student to defend REVELATION. If it came from a perfect being, it should be perfectly irrefutable.
But then, where are they? Know any? ask to come over here and "run rings around me logically" on my own blog. Actually, I've been expecting that ever since I joined but it hasn't happend yet. But I can confidently say that it won't happen, because logically, if god does not exist, or is hiding, they can't because reasoning depends on logic which depends on evidence, and there is no evidence to support them. All my evidence will come from scientific research, principle, warrant, and precedent from the natural world starting with the premise that until there is sound evidence for the supernatural, the supernatural is a dubious hypothesis.

Unfortunately Lee, whether you realize it or not, you are more than willing to believe nonsense to attack the Judeo-Christian theological system, the very fact you would say something as rediculous as "Abraham" being somehow influenced by "Brahma" proves that point well enough
gordonblood, you have straw manned me! The Brahma Abraham hypothesis is worth exploring, and I got it from Two books, one is karen Armstrongs "a history of God" and I can't remember the other. I don't believe every hypothesis I'm exposed to, I wait in the wings and see how it plays out. Just like I did with christianity.

More than willing to believe non-sense?
At least I'm consistent. I don't find way to keep believing in a book that I relegate to metaphor, anthropomorphism, variance in witness testimony, copyist error, etc, etc, etc.

Try this, take a bible and a red, yellow, and green highlighter. Start at page one and highlight things you belive in green, things you are not sure about in yellow and things you don't believe in red and see what you have at the end.

Give an honest thought as to why you categorized them in that way.

Write down scriptures that seem to be mutually contradictory, such as the whole book of life, thing.

then find out the history of the bible, and the near east.

this is an honest bible study.

You can find one already done by Thomas Jefferson, your founding father. Its 65 pages long. Its called "the jefferson bible".

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Gordonblood,
First off, you should check out some of the books on informal logic by your fellow countryman Douglas Walton. He's brilliant.

well il hold back on comments, but noone comes to believe in Santa Claus at an older age but many have come to belief in God at an old age after much consideration
When people realize that Santa is improbable they stop believing. Parents delivering the gifts is the kicker.

Unfortunately, in the case of god, we can't see who delivers the gifts until after we are dead.

and Anthony Flew is one of the many isn't he? And he had demonstrable cognitive impairment doesn't he?

How many is many?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Gordonblood,
before you stomp me,
I said
You can find one already done by Thomas Jefferson, your founding father. Its 65 pages long. Its called "the jefferson bible".

before I found out you were canadian.
Have a moosehead dark for me. I miss them.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Jason,
How God chooses to judge children is entirely up to Him. If you knew salvation was given to every child who was ever killed, would you sleep easier?
not when I know they were chained to the bed by abusive parents and burned to death before she could be released.

this is why I don't respond to you very much because you are like the poster child for the "Ugly Christian".

What you say is so egregious, that I can't do any better. I'm happy to give you as much rope as you want.

GordonBlood said...

Concerning the Exodus Lee I think you should be made aware that, even with satellites, very little is known about that area. Archeology is done at a snails pace and satellites, while useful for viewing large scale areas, are not very useful for small encampments. The textual evidence of the Exodus is quite interesting however (in the sense that it seems unlikely that the Jews would invent a myth that placed that as slaves) as is the discovery of cities in Egypt that are listed in the Exodus account as having been built by Jews (there are other evidences that point to the conclusion that the exodus happened, but we'll pass those aside for brevity). In terms of revelation I dont see why revelation should either be simple or straight-forward. Mortimer Adler, a famous Columbia philosopher (now deceased) said of revelation that there was no point to it if it could be read like a textbook (those arent his exact words of course, just a summary).

Jason said...

Lee said: Not when I know they were chained to the bed by abusive parents and burned to death before she could be released.

How short-sighted of you. The child receives salvation and lives in eternal happiness and you're still not content. Go figure.

This is why I don't respond to you very much because you are like the poster child for the "Ugly Christian".

Is this your rebuttal? If you suddenly knew that every child who ever died an untimely death was given salvation by God, you would respond with “Jason is the poster child for the “Ugly Christian”…? Brilliant.

What you say is so egregious, that I can't do any better. I'm happy to give you as much rope as you want.

You’ve really done nothing to show why my comment is bad other then spout tired rhetoric about what you think of me. It’s entertaining but it’s not the most solid of counter-arguments. Like I said, no one (Christian or atheist) knows for sure whether God caused specific natural disasters or not. Your argument (whatever it is) does nothing to debunk Christianity.

Lee Randolph said...

HI Gordonblood,
What makes you think
Concerning the Exodus Lee I think you should be made aware that, even with satellites, very little is known about that area. Archeology is done at a snails pace and satellites, while useful for viewing large scale areas, are not very useful for small encampments.

and
In terms of revelation I dont see why revelation should either be simple or straight-forward. Mortimer Adler, a famous Columbia philosopher (now deceased) said of revelation that there was no point to it if it could be read like a textbook (those arent his exact words of course, just a summary).
I guess its all in what you think is important. When I write these comments I write them in english since that is the precedent that has been established. I'm bilingual so I could write them in the other language, but then I wouldn't get very much participation from the others that don't understand that language.
I think it is important that you all understand me. That way we can have a relationship, as far as it goes and interact.

Try this, find some other books on the subjects you are taking in your college courses and replace the ones on your syllabus with them. See how you do. If its not important for the information to be as easy to understand as possible, you shouldn't see any difference.

Harry McCall said...

Gordonblood stated: Harry, the word theism means a belief in theism. That is a belief in a God that has some level of providence over the world. Atheism denies that. For a person who went to seminary you should know this.

Atheism has a number of sub-definitions. You can be labeled an Atheist by another religion whether you are either a deist or theist.

The word atheist was used by Christians to attack the traditional Roman religion who, in turn, used it to attack the Christians. Fact is that non-Christian Romans (pagans) blamed the fall of Roman on the Christianization of the Empire by denying the traditional gods. Thus, the world “atheist” was much in use in attacks by both pagans and Christians. Christians were killed for being atheist.

Indeed, Gordonblood is an atheist today where you like it or not! You are subjectively labeled as an “al-Kufr” by strict hard-line Moslems. The western Christian (theist) world is considered as “al-Kufr” / “the infidel” by many Moslems. The adjective of “Kufr” is “kafir” meaning an atheist along with its plurals kafirum, kuffar, kafarah, and kifar.

I will cite the Qur’an to prove my point here:

Say: O unbelievers,
I serve not what you serve and you are not serving what I serve,
Nor am I serving what you have serve, neither are you serving what I serve.

To you, your religion, and to me, my religion. (109)

akakiwibear said...

Harry, "Since bad events far exceed any good events in nature exponentially,"

oh come on! let's have some reasoned debate here!

akakiwibear said...

Lee, "Natural Events happen. People are affected. They get labeled "natural disasters". Some people think it is Gods Judgment. Its probably not since it happens whether there are people or not.".

Yes but you still don't say why it poses a problem. The problem lies in the assertion that "Some people think it is Gods Judgment." on which you base your argument.

If I accept your assertion, then I see your point, but I can see no reason to accept your assertion as the basis your conclusion being robust.

Again your argument is only effective against the inerrancy fraturnity, but you extend it to theism in general.

Sala kahle - peace

akakiwibear said...

It is interesting that atheists need to blame God for natural disasters. I guess the alternative of accepting responsibility would not sit comfortably with some.

Consider the role of human greed in disrupting the eco-system to create famine where there was plenty (or in Zimbabwe's case social engineering did most of it).

Consider the role of human greed in expanding our habitation footprint into areas not suitable for habitation - God did not make anyone live below sea level in a hurricane path.

I could go on, but I leave it you to answer this question. Is there any natural disaster that we could not have mitigated but for our quest for power, pleasure and possessions?

Maybe God did create a place where we could live in peace and harmony with nature but we stuffed it up?

Peace

Harry McCall said...

Akakiwbear :” Harry, "Since bad events far exceed any good events in nature exponentially,"
oh come on! let's have some reasoned debate here!
Akakiwbear, read any news paper headlines lately? At what proportion do the local and national news programs report bad news to good news? Most nation news CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX might include a feel good story at the end of their coverage. Hey, just check out CNN and do your own research.

In movies and video games, check out the violence. Just why, in fictional movies which use a Christian base, do we find such films as vampire movies, the Eroticist series, The End of Days is the audience given a movie script where God seems not to existent while the bad / evil runs wild? Fact is, the only good portrayed in films is the comedy!

Both the above facts reflect how the western mind sees the good vs. bad / evil balance in both the news media and entertainment industry. As Darwin wrote: Life is “the survival of the fittest” (good news isn’t it?) or, as my aunt used to say: “It’s a dog eat dog world.”

So, Akakiwbea, what is you source of information…a Sunday School booklet or a feel good motivational speaker?

Even Jesus claimed things are getting worst: Matt. 24, Paul’s final letter in Romans 1 and the general lay out of pessimism John gives in Revelation.

You want “some reasoned debate here!” Open your eyes and lets hear from your key board just how life is soooo gooood and just maybe you can stop the hopelessness people find themselves in as they spiral down as they experience mental depression as they live in a world controlled by bad events.

Akakiwbea, please explain to me the increased in the rate of alcoholism, illegal drug use in our world. Please explain why my wife, who is a pharmacist, tells me that anti-depressants are the most dispensed drugs at all pharmacies today.

If you think my statement about “bad events far exceed any good events in nature exponentially,” is wrong, then wake up and smell the coffee!

akakiwibear said...

Harry, in response to my urging rational debate you replied “At what proportion do the local and national news programs report bad news to good news?”
and
“In movies and video games, check out the violence”
and concluded
“Both the above facts reflect how the western mind sees the good vs. bad / evil balance in both the news media and entertainment industry” oh gee, and I thought it was all driven by the quest for the almighty dollar!

I rest my case!

Then you raised a new point: “You want “some reasoned debate here!” Open your eyes and lets hear from your key board just how life is soooo gooood and just maybe you can stop the hopelessness people find themselves in as they spiral down as they experience mental depression as they live in a world controlled by bad events.

Wow you sure know how to change the topic, I thought we were discussing natural disasters in the context of the PoE (you know how God made the world a disaster zone), not fixing the problems of the world created by humans.
But since you ask, living according to Christ’s teaching would go a long way to solving the problems you highlighted.

Perhaps I could even suggest that if you are right and things are getting worse it is because of the rise of atheism ... but perhaps it is just the pressure of materialism in the modern economically rational society.

Peace

Harry McCall said...

Akakiwbear: As far as natural disasters go, for me there is NO “PROBLEM OF EVIL”. As my original post stated; there are only events and their interpretations.

To remain a Christian, believers must interpret events to enforce their religion. As soon as they fail to do this, and over a period of time, they are no longer religious in that their mind seeks other explanations.

Now back to the event and interpretation of the event:

A rainbow is a beautiful site to the people not affected by the hurricane which just killed fifty people 100 miles away. Two events having two entirely different interpretations. Good + Bad = 0

Are sun solar flares an evil event? They destroy radio communications and, at high levels, solid state equipment. But so does a short circuit of a failed component. However, we need the sun for life. Good + Bad = 0

Is oxygen evil? Humans need it for life, but it also causes free radicals which can cause cancer in humans and animals. Good = Bad = 0

I see God only as a mental construct and religion was ancient man’s science to explain the world. I, myself, do not explain it as such anymore.

People claim I react to Christianity from a fundamentalist prospective. Here in S.C. the radio and TV is composed of about 98% of fundamentalist Christianity. Its’ either their way or the Hell-way. My Atheism is in dialogue with them not the liberal theist.

So, if God / Jesus wants me to “Burn in the Lake of Fire” for ever, then I’ll let these preacher have that right to say so, but in my reality of the world here and now, I’ll take apart their verbally inspired Bible. Again, I refuse to be threatened by those preachers who stand on the side walks here in Greenville and preach hell fire and brimstones.

Back in 1990, my six year old daughter asked me why all the side walk evangelists were so angry. I told her they were unhappy with what they had to believe and wanted other to be unhappy too. In this “The Buckle of the Bible Belt” being an Atheist is a harbor of rest!

BTW: I consider myself a relative Atheist (that is, an Atheist on the Biblical God, but more of an Agnostic on the universe). Hence, I consider myself spiritual and not religious.

The fact that the concept of “God” is debated today has more to do with Classical philosophy than the Bible (as my very first post here at DC stated).

I have no problem with the liberal theist, its organized fundamentalist Christianity I hate such as the Southern Baptist Convention.

akakiwibear said...

Harry, "I consider myself a relative Atheist (that is, an Atheist on the Biblical God, but more of an Agnostic on the universe). Hence, I consider myself spiritual and not religious."

Perhaps we have more in common than I realised - certainly I don't seem to believe in the same God as the inerrant Bible literalists (who seem to surround you explaining perhaps your strong feelings).

Out of curiosity, if you recognise a spiritual dimension, does it have a hierarchy?

Peace

Lee Randolph said...

akakiwibear,
you are right in that most of my arguments are directed against the god of the Bible. If you don't buy into the God of the Bible, then maybe you could at least be amused by the content.

however,
in the context of a good and loving biblical god causing natural disasters to punish, then god's at fault for the needless suffering of the innocents.

In the case of tsunamis, earthquakes, volcano's, its got to happen once for people to realize that there is a danger. So at least once, gods at fault. if he loves them so much, and he's omnipotent he could warn them or could have made them afraid to live there in the first place and avoided even the first instance, unless you think that would be impinging on thier freewill to ignorantly get demolished.

Anyway, I don't think there is a "problem of evil" without the biblical god, but this article was meant to debunk the natural disaster part of the "Poe" if god exists. My next one will attempt to debunk the PoE as a Test.

I suppose this article can be viewed as a debunking of any supposed correlation of the supernatural to natural disasters as well.

akakiwibear said...

Lee, three points in reply.

1) The PoE hinges off an omni-benevolent as we traditionally define benevolence (good loving etc) but that view is not clearly easily aligned with all the Bible stories of God some of which depict a God that we would not always consider as benevolent using your definition (e.g. the crucifixion may not have been an act of kindness to the human side of Christ – many other examples which I suspect you could list more readily than I).

Therefore if you base your claim on the literal biblical God and use that as your definition of an onmi-benevolent God then (and as you are being literal in your interpretation of the Bible you have little choice but to do so) you have a definition of benevolence which includes acts that we may not readily see as benevolent. So I think you have a discontinuity in your argument – you can’t use both definitions of benevolence at the same time.

2) The natural disaster side of PoE is at best moot. You argue that God could have created a world without natural disasters as an act of benevolence, or else fails as a benevolent God (ignoring for now the issue of what constitutes benevolence). Such a world would be in defiance of the physical laws required for its functioning - without gravity (it attracts meteors that mess with life on earth when they strike) heat (fire burns) etc.

You may respond that being omniscient God could have created laws of physics which enabled a world in which all the laws of physics result in only pleasant outcomes for us. A problem position:
a) the argument assumes an omniscient God therefore the design chosen by such a God best meets all God’s al knowing criteria – no room for debate a QED position.
b) if we only had pleasant outcomes some would be more pleasant than others, with only that as a frame of reference we would judge the least pleasant experience as bad, so back to God induced bad experiences. Interesting to think that this may well be the most benign of all possible sets of laws of physics, but not being omniscient we could not know.

3) In reply to my point that the suffering associated with natural occurrences was brought about by human action you replied “In the case of tsunamis, earthquakes, volcano's, its got to happen once for people to realize that there is a danger. So at least once, gods at fault. if he loves them so much, and he's omnipotent he could warn them. Now you are making wild assumptions without evidence – I would be interested to see the evidence that God did not warn the first cognoscente humans of the dangers. Prove your point So at least once, gods at fault or concede.

I stay with my view that the PoE is only a valid argument for those who don’t think it through. I have yet to encounter a convincing take on PoE that provides a half robust base for the deductive conclusion that precludes God and evil co-existing.

Sala kahle - peace

Harry McCall said...

Akakiwbear, my spiritual life can be as complex as applying for a new patent or as simple as a cup of fresh coffee -- no hierarchy involved.

My understanding (or lack of) of the POE comes form Classical Stoic philosophy.

Hope this clarifies thing a little.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi akakiwibear,
So I think you have a discontinuity in your argument – you can’t use both definitions of benevolence at the same time.
I agree this is a discontinuity. This discontinuity is in the bible, or literal interpretation of it ( as you seem to be pointing out) therefore probably is not correct. Something is wrong with a benevolent god acting like the god of the old testament. My guess, and it seems to be yours as well, is the bible is not right on this point, or the interpretation is not right. However If the interpretation is not correct, then I would point out the principle of clarity has been violated, and a HOLY biblical revision is in order.

“In the case of tsunamis, earthquakes, volcano's, its got to happen once for people to realize that there is a danger. So at least once, gods at fault. if he loves them so much, and he's omnipotent he could warn them” . Now you are making wild assumptions without evidence – I would be interested to see the evidence that God did not warn the first cognoscente humans of the dangers. Prove your point So at least once, gods at fault or concede.
There was no advance warning of the tsunami, and the only warning they got from hurricane katrina was from man made devices. There is nothing that points to a loving god putting enough fear into people to prevent them from staying somewhere that will be demolished. If god is omni then he could easily put fear into them that would motivate them. There are signs, and there are interpretations of signs and there are mistakes in judgement that are neither good or evil just dumb like a cow. Signs need to be compelling. Maybe there are signs, but If I put a sign on a my fence that says 'dog inside' and some little kid comes over to pet it and it takes a finger off, I am at fault, aren't I?

You argue that our label for suffering depends on the worst level of suffering we encounter. There is some merit to that. However, once you consider the moral implications of allowing flesh shredding suffering just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, then you have a problem with a good all-powerful being that interacts with us. If you want to eliminate any of this out of the equation
1. good
2. all-powerful
3. interacts with us
then have come closer to solving it.

I have yet to encounter a convincing take on PoE that provides a half robust base for the deductive conclusion that precludes God and evil co-existing.
I'll keep trying.
;-)
peace to you to,

akakiwibear said...

Lee, side stepping is beneath you.
Your point in “its got to happen once for people to realize that there is a danger. So at least once, gods at fault.” was surely that God was at fault if people had to suffer the first disaster to learn not to live in flood plains etc. My reply was to challenge you to present evidence that God had not provided a warning to the first cognoscente humans of the dangers. .

I thought your point and the challenge were clear yet you replied that “There was no advance warning of the tsunami, and the only warning they got from hurricane katrina was from man made devices.” which simply avoids the point in contention!

Aside from your sidestepping, your reply ignores the fact that in both cases the suffering resulting from these natural events (which are of themselves neither good nor evil) was due to human misbehaviour in not heeding the warnings of past events and trends in the weather.

We are equipped us to live in this world, if we do dumb things we should face the consequences – I live in Auckland, a city built on 50 volcanoes, when (not if) one erupts (apparently a near certainty in the next 50 years) and kills and maims many people I suspect you (or those that come after you) will argue that it was God’s fault! Get over it, I chose to live here out of selfishness, I coveted the lifestyle, when it goes pear shaped I hope I am man enough to shoulder the blame.

It is only the first (original) occurrence, as you conceded in your earlier point, that God can be held at fault for, if no prior warning was given – and you assert that God is at fault – again I challenge you, where is your evidence

Your point “There is nothing that points to a loving god putting enough fear into people to prevent them from staying somewhere that will be demolished” is simply rhetoric, should God blow your nose for you as well or was equipping you to look after yourself not enough? Once again you trying to discredit God rather than have humanity take responsibility for their actions.

“So I think you have a discontinuity in your argument – you can’t use both definitions of benevolence at the same time.
I agree this is a discontinuity.”
… but it does not seem to stop you using the argument!

The point relates to the validity of the PoE – I think you just acknowledged one of its many major flaws … keep trying, and you are welcome to raise the level of the game – PoE is a dead duck and no amount of resuscitation will make it quack.

Sala kahle - peace

Scott said...

akakiwibear:Aside from your sidestepping, your reply ignores the fact that in both cases the suffering resulting from these natural events (which are of themselves neither good nor evil) was due to human misbehaviour in not heeding the warnings of past events and trends in the weather.

We have plenty of historical and geological "warnings" that our planet could be hit by a meteor and potentially cause 95% of life on our planet to be extinct.

Based on this information, what exactly could we do that wouldn't be construed as "misbehaving" and not "heeding these warnings" in this situation?

It's not like we can simply "move" somewhere else, such as another planet, to avoid a catastrophic meteor impact. Even if we could, the danger would remain.