2005

vexen

Vexen Crabtree's Live Journal

Sociology, Theology, Anti-Religion and Exploration: Forcing Humanity Forwards


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God and Goodness

"God and Goodness: Can a Perfectly Good God Exist? Is God Love?" by Vexen Crabtree (1999)

God and Good

(Anonymous)

2003-03-20 05:48 am (UTC)

To say that an all powerful Creator must choose good is illogical. If the is the Creator, what he does is good no matter how we feel, he dictates what is good, his will, is the law. Since we are no longer bound by the law, we are not bound by moral issues. This is why he sent Christ, we cannot, and will not follow the law, he sent is son so that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. Since we do not HAVE to follow the law does not mean that we SHOULDN'T follow the law. Example: "You can get high, wasted, have a huge orgy and still be saved" (My theology teacher) But this does not mean that you should do these things because they are not the best for you. So if for no other reason, refrain from "bad" deeds because of health issues, have faith in Christ, and put a little more research into your opinions.

1) The goodness of God
If we programmed a computer to give out sweets to every entity that wanted a sweet, would the program be "good" or "moral"? No, it wouldn't. It would merely be doing what it instrinsicly does.

If the machine is incapable of choosing to do "bad" or "good", we simply can't call it a "Morally good" or "Morally bad" machine, because we acknowledge that it is not making moral choices.

You have said that *everything* the Creator does is good. This means it is impossible for God to do bad acts. This also means it is illogical to call the Creator "Morally good", because like our machine, it isn't actually making moral choices.

2) Christian mythology of Jesus
It makes no sense that God would have to send Jesus in order for us to believe in him, in order for us to follow God's laws. God, if he was fair, would merely implant into all our brains, immediately, a knowledge of Jesus and his law. This would have solved *alll* the Biblical translation problems and misinterpretations, etc. Christian mythology is a muddle of confused ideas and stories which were not even meant to be taken literally in the first place.

3) Good/bad lifestyles
I agree that we should refrain from "bad" "deeds" because of health issues, and that we should do our best to look after our own health and make sure we have responsible and mature lifestyles.

... but I don't see why you've brought this up!

Re: God and Good

(Anonymous)

2004-09-08 07:42 pm (UTC)

I was born catholic. If time travel is possible then all who my possess this ability of time travel could be "God", or "god-like." Therefore God could be someone from the future just toying around with the world. There is no use trying to figure anything aabout God out if he exists we cannot comprehend anything about him.

Re: God and Good

(Anonymous)

2004-12-07 12:40 am (UTC)

You are so sweet man/girl I am proud of you for that.

Re: God and Good

(Anonymous)

2005-12-17 08:48 am (UTC)

If God Created the Universe and all things in it, then it is reasonable to assume that he created morality and immorality. After all, Satan is a fallen angel. If God created morality and immorality, then maybe he is beyond good and evil, neutral to them, so to speak?

logic - deductive reasoning 101

(Anonymous)

2003-06-22 03:47 pm (UTC)

"Evil exists." Fact

"In order for evil to exist it must be contrasted to good, and both of these concepts must be defined by God" -- Not a Fact. That in order for evil to exist it must be contrasted to good is a supposition. It could also be supposed that evil is an intrinsic concept. It is possible for evil to exist without being contrasted. That the concepts must be defined by God is also a supposition. If good and evil are intrinsic concepts then they do not need to be defined. If God is Good and therefore everything like Him is good, and everything contrary to him is evil, then there is no defining involved.

"God chooses what is good, what is evil, and how much of each exists." -- Again you follow a factual premise with supposed premises and make it appear like you are using deductive reasoning. That good and evil are a matter of choice instead of an intrinsic condition is a supposition. Non of your arguments support the supposition that God decides how much of each exists. The rest of the paragraph is supported by these suppositions so there is no need to proceed with it.

"If there was no evil at all in the world, the creator would not be seen as benevolent, because there would be nothing that was evil. Without evil, we cannot know what is good." -- again you suppose that there needs to be contrast for good to be recognized as such. That is still a supposition (probably incorrect) and not a fact or even a logical deduction.

"seems to imply that the divine command is irrelevant to ethics and that ethical standards are established independent of religious considerations." -- Correct. Divine command is only an extra measure of fairness. Everyone knows what is good and what is evil. When people indulge in evil, they know what they're doing. But they can still use the excuse "you never told me it was evil". So, to be extra fair, the commandments were provided to specifically say what everyone already knows. Does this eliminate the need for religion? Only if religion was about following commandments which it isn't -at all-.

"Everything God does is Good, so how can He know what good is?" -- You don't need to do evil in order to recognize it. You do not need to be a carrot in order to recognize one. The argument has no logic. Everything Jesus did was good and He was still perfectly capable of being tempted by evil and recognizing evil.

"What is the point of saying that God is good, if God cannot choose to do anything bad?" -- God CAN chose bad. Jesus was tempted; He allowed himself to be tempted into choosing bad. God can chose bad but He never choses bad. Therefore he is not morally neutral and therefore the rest of the arguments in this paragraph have no point.

"There cannot be a separate creator of good acts - then we would need a creator of creators! The concept of a "good act" cannot possibly be absolute" -- The creator of each good act is the person or entity who carries it out. God is intrinsically good and he creates good acts. He can also create good people and then give them free will so that they will not be mindless slaves even if that allows them to chose evil. People are not good but they can create good acts too. Creating good acts is not a universal action. It is a collection of small actions that can be carried out by any being who can understand the concepts of good and evil and does not require a "creator of a creator".

Re: logic - deductive reasoning 101

vexen

2003-06-22 04:06 pm (UTC)

Thanks for your lengthy and intelligent reply. I'll number major sections as I proceed.

1. Evil exists. This is not a fact, but a subjective point of view made by individual people. What is evil for a bacteria (antibiotics, most likely) is not evil for mankind (disease, possibly). Given the highly subjective nature of evil, it is impossible for us to actually deduce that a universal or absolute form of evil exists.

This will probably bring you to the truth that I am not presenting, on the page you responded to, arguments that I myself believe in.

2. Intrinsic property of evil.
I could have reworded "God chooses how much of each it will create" to "God chooses how many entitities with an intrinsic property of each it will create", which means the same thing, avoids your criticism, but is a bit of a mouthful and I assumed that when I wrote "create evil" the reader would assume this would be by the process of creating events or elements that cause affects that we describe as evil.

3. I agree that it is not fact that good can't exist without evil, from our point of view. However, if there was a universal god, then in order for it to be judged as either "good" or "evil", there would first have to be created the values of "good" and "evil". If everything was "good", and there was no evil, the word "good" itself would be meaningless. Akin to saying "Objects that exist, exist", saying "God is good" would be a tautology.

So, I agree that opposites do not always need to exist in order to recognize something. I know that some things, like pain, we inherently know are bad whether or not we've experienced pain or pleasure before.

4. Not everyone knows what is good and evil, and some cultures and peoples have very different ideas about what evil is. For example, Aztec baby-killing was fully believed to be a more moral alternative to a life of pain caused by a family with too many children. Modern contraception follows much of the same logic, and with the advent of modern contraception we now hold baby-killing to be immoral, whereas previously some cultures have not. What is "evil" changes over time, therefore it isn't true when we say that "people know good and evil" that people actually know the same thing.

5. (Last paragraph)
The instrinsic properties of the universe were, in the first place, created by God. God created the chain of cause and affect that causes some actions to lead to goodness and some to evil. That some actions cause evil mean that God created evil somewhere along the line of causality.

For example: People cannot turn into elephants because it is impossible. If it was possible, it would be possible because God had created some way in which it would be possible. But it hasn't created any such method. Same with evil. Evil exists because God has created and allowed evil to exist - if God had not had created "evil" as the result of an action, the action would be impossible. Just like "turning into an elephant" is not a result of any action.

Why didn't God create a world in which no actions resulted in evil or suffering?

1. I'll agree, if we keep the concept of evil.. err.. conceptual! If it is viewed from the Judeo-Christian definition, which is the view your site deals the most with, then it does exist. But Your view is also reasonable and I will not argue against a solid, reasonable view. (except for the bacteria example since harmful!=evil)

2. Ok, that makes for a solid argument (but not a solid logical premise since Christianity's view of God does not indicate that he creates events or elements that produce evil. He creates beings without evil, places them in a setting without evil and gives them freedom. If the beings choose to do evil that is their personal responsibility; not their Creator's.)

3. Actually, according to Judeo-Christianity things were in fact viewed and defined as good before the first evil act was committed; so I see we pretty much agree on this point.

4. We could argue about the difference between morality and "conscience of good and evil"; and argue about whether or not those aztecs knew that their moral actions were evil but there is no way to ask them, ergo there is no evidence, so it would be pointless to argue either way.

5. "The instrinsic properties of the universe were, in the first place, created by God." let's call this statement#1. "God created the chain of cause and affect that causes some actions to lead to goodness and some to evil." this statement does not follow (logically) from statement#1. Also it is not an absolute premise. An alternative (and more reasonable) premise could be: God created the chain of cause and effect that led to freedom of choice. The fact that such a freedom can be used to do evil does not mean that the chain of events leads to evil since freedom, in itself, is good. Blaming our freedom for the results of our choices would be evading personal resposibility.

Your logical analysis shows great potential except for the bias. You seem to be trying to prove a point instead of trying to reach deductive conclusions, and so, present premises that are not premises as such (or present two alternatives as the only possible choices when there are, in fact, more). Keep exercising logic with an open mind instead of trying to reach a preconceived notion. That's the only way to reach the Truth in any subject. (Though Logic inevitably leads to Logos.)

Oops! I forgot your last arguments because they were not numbered.

The impossibility of a physical event is not comparable to the impossibility of a decision, though, in this case, you're partially right. It is true, God created an intelligent creature and gave it freedom of choice. Without that, it would be impossible for evil to exist. But creating an intelligent creature is good. Freedom of choice is good. Wishing to create an intelligent creature with freedom of choice is not the same as wishing to create evil. When God created man, He did not want to create evil and did not create evil. That was our choice.

"Why didn't God create a world in which no actions resulted in evil or suffering?" -- He did. We decided, and still decide every day, that we want something else. Again, it's irresponsible to blame our Creator for the choices that we freely make.

Suffering and pain exist (as elements of evil) because God created the emotions and feelings of suffering and pain. All evil exists because God created the method by which experience evil, and created the affects and idea of evil itself. If God did not create such things, they would not exist.

If God did not want to create evil, it would not have done so.

You made two assumptions: Creating an intelligent creature is good. Freedom of choice is good.

> "Why didn't God create a world in which no actions
> resulted in evil or suffering?" -- He did. We decided,
> and still decide every day, that we want something else.
> Again, it's irresponsible to blame our Creator for the
> choices that we freely make.

No, God did not create a world with no suffering. No such world exists. Natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, radiation from the sun, etc, all cause suffering and pain and these are not through any choice on our behalf. The natural world inherently contains elements and functions that cause suffering and evil.

I have quoted Isaiah already where the author writes that God itself said it was responsible for the creation of light and darkness, good and evil. (45:5-7).

2. "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil (N.I.V. "disaster"): I the Lord do all these things" (Is.45:5-7,22)"

In Christian mythology, God is the supreme creator. It created everything, including things that include and cause evil, and including goodness. God on many cases is directly responsible for death, punishment and evil. God gives Satan permission to act in certain circumstances, the God's curse on man and woman in the garden of eden is another example of God directly creating suffering.

3. In Judeo-Christianity, if you mean that the first "evil act" was the fall, eating the apple, then don't forget that the serpent already existed.

5. The only options available to people with free will are the logical options that God has made possible. Repeated: For example: People cannot turn into elephants because it is impossible. If it was possible, it would be possible because God had created some way in which it would be possible. But it hasn't created any such method. Same with evil. Evil exists because God has created and allowed evil to exist - if God had not had created "evil" as the result of an action, the action would be impossible. Just like "turning into an elephant" is not a result of any action.

Why didn't God create a world in which no actions resulted in evil or suffering?

Also, you made some assumptions. It is not logically true that "freedom" is "good". We happen to like it rather a lot, but I am not aware of any logical reason why freedom is an absolute good - it could be, overall, more of a force for evil.

6. I do not find that logic leads to a Greek understanding of the son of god. I don't find that logic leads to the possibility of god existing - let alone the Christian or Greek God in particular.

Suffering and pain exist (as elements of evil) -- suffering and pain are not elements of evil.

"because God created the emotions and feelings of suffering and pain. All evil exists because God created the method by which experience evil, and created the affects and idea of evil itself." -- (moral) Evil is not an idea that needs to be created. It is a description. The actions that can be described as evil have to be created. God does not create those actions.

"If God did not want to create evil, it would not have done so." -- and He didn't. Satan and we did. All He did was to give us the ability to decide by ourselves.

"You made two assumptions: Creating an intelligent creature is good." -- This is not my assumption. This is God's assumption. He created man and assessed it as "good".

"Freedom of choice is good." My mistake. I apologize. After visiting countries where freedom has been... "heavily restricted," it is sometimes hard not to see it as good. Sorry.

"No, God did not create a world with no suffering." -- not anymore, but before we were expelled from Eden (whatever that was) there was no record of suffering.

I have quoted Isaiah already where the author writes that God itself said it was responsible for the creation of light and darkness, good and evil. (45:5-7).
--
2. In this case, notice that the comparison between peace and evil follows directly after the comparison of light and darkness; there is a logical reason for this. Darkness is not the opposite of light but the absence of light. This can be corroborated in Ezek 32:8 where God shows that he creates darkness by removing light (and by science). So the Hebrew "ra" is not meant to stand for creating moral evil but for removing His protection of the peace of Israel.
The purpose of the passage is to teach that there is not a separate god that causes calamities but that calamities befall when Israel disobeys and He removes his protection.
The Bible is a philosophical progression. If studied as such, without pulling verses out of context, this should be evident.
Evil is the product of evil actions unlike suffering which can have a good purpose. Saints have requested suffering for several reasons but they have never requested evil.

God's curse of man and woman is not the source of their suffering. The source of their suffering is their deliberate disobedience. Justice does cause suffering to those who are not "just" but that doesn't constitute evil.

"if God had not had created "evil" as the result of an action, the action would be impossible"
-- Evil is how we describe the result of the action. The only way for us not to describe the result of an action that we freely chose to carry out as evil is: a) if our concept of evil was different b)if the action had a different result C)if we didn't carry out the action.
If we chose "a" we are just playing with definition, so it is pointless.
If we chose "b" we would not have freedom, since we wouldn't be able to achieve the results we want from the action. If we can't chose the outcome of our actions, it's the same as not being able to chose our actions.
If we chose "c", it would imply the total (and obvious) removal of freedom.
(Of course there is an implied option "d" which is not to chose to do an action whose result can be described as evil, but that is up to us.)

6. This was not meant to be part of the argument. It is just something you might remember later on if you exercise your logic with sincerity.

Christians are fucking morons

(Anonymous)

2004-07-01 12:30 pm (UTC)

If God exists, he is evil...and an asshole to boot.

Re: Christians are fucking morons

vexen

2004-07-05 01:02 pm (UTC)

Yeah! This page of mine says the same thing, it makes so much more sense than believing that if there is a god, it is good.

http://www.dpjs.co.uk/god.html

Re: Christians are fucking morons

(Anonymous)

2005-03-14 06:30 pm (UTC)

You cant just say that and expect to get kudos. Its an assumption and an opinion. Points like that have no place in forums of intellect concerning importance like this. I personally beleive that I am a highly learned and intellectual person, capable of taking on even the most complicated of tasks and solving complex problems. Check out my posts on the chances of God existing and the universe existing through chaos, and my post on proof of the soul and therefore proof of God through perception. But do other people fel i am highly learned? It's an opinion which cannot be discussed, so please keep opinions out of these discussions!!! I'm totally open to criticism of the theories I put forward, so please dont be afraid of pointing out certain "flaws". My name is Ali so please refer to me accordingly. Plus I'm only 15 so please no harsh language... I'm too young to be fouled by the tongue of satan.

God IS needed for morals

dhevil

2005-03-21 04:33 pm (UTC)

God IS required for morals, because as we have seen throughout the ages, morals change as with societies. Example it may have been good to sacrifice people for a certain "God" (False God no doubt) but nowadays you'd be at least hunted down as an animal by angry vigilantes who've had their sons/daughters sacrificed for a greater good! Morals change so there cannot be an absolute Good without God. God lays down the laws and we need to keep them if we are to live with order and not chaos. Pretty smart for 15 ain't I?

Re: God IS needed for morals

vexen

2005-03-30 09:25 am (UTC)

Morals DO change over time. That doesn't mean God exists, it means God DOESN'T create absolute morals, if it exists.

If God exists and wants there to be absolute morals, then God would create absolute morals and give us a way of knowing what they are. But no such way exists. If there is a God, it is as if it doesn't actually want to us to know, for sure, what absolute morals are. In other words, God wants subjective morality.

With or without God, morality is subjective.

Why do you think God would want absolute morals, and then make all morals relativist? If God lays down the laws, why is it that only Islam, of all the world religions, has remained largely unchanged since it's inception? Even Islamic morals differ from state to state. Christians morals are the most diverse and have changed most over time. Does this mean that you believe in Allah, as a god of absolute morals, more than the Christian God?

Re: God IS needed for morals

dhevil

2005-04-01 06:02 pm (UTC)

There is a way of knowing absolute morals and there is such a way which exists, and that's the Quraan. You are mistaken about Islamic morals differing from state to state. That's just the inevitable difference in society, and is not linked with the fundamental morals in the Quraan. Admittedly, its almost impossible to follow these rules 100%, but God wants us to strive towards these morals as closely as possible. This is not to say that you can dismiss some laws and abide by others, because you have to TRY to abide by them all. There will be sociological changes, and depending on where you live in the world it will be harder to abide by certain laws. However the absolute morality is still there.

"If God lays down the laws, why is it that only Islam, of all the world religions, has remained largely unchanged since its' inception?"

Because Islam is the only true religion. All others were either merely falsities or branches from Islam that hold some truth, but not full truth.

This is just so crazy, you say all these things and put a limit on God. "he has no free will". How can you say that. Honestly how much do you think you know...put it into a number,1 in 100. Pick a number that discribes how much you think you know out of everything there is to grasp in this universe alone. If you where honest with your self then you probaly put about a 1 or maybe even a decimal. Because if we are honest with our selfs our knolege is so limited by our brain capasity alone. Now think of all you know about the God I and other Christians believe in, If he where to pick a number between 1 and 100, his number would go off the scale. You lean so much on your own understanding, you think you understand it all. Well i'm hear to tell you even as a believing Christian there are some things even we who devote our whole lives to learning and growing can't wrap up in cute little packages to explain. That is where faith comes in. You live all your life trying to disprove God when all he wants to do is to love you. And deep down in side, if you just look something is missing. You can deny it all you want, but its there. When your ready to fill that hole, God will be waiting just as he has always been waiting for you. Don't put limits on him, don't say he has to fit this or he has to fit that, because in essence you can't explain God. After all you said on your web site, its doesn't make since that he still loves you, it doesn't make since that he still sent his son to die for you even though he knew thatyou have the choice to choose a different life style other than the one he wants for you. You want to sum it up? God doesn't make since, you can't box him in or find answers to all of you questions, but that is the beauty of it. Faith,and to a true christian faith isn't soemthing that is unseen or unfelt. When you finally let God in, he becomse so real and so physical to you, all these question you ask suddenly don't matter, because he is the Great I Am. You have all these things to fight against God, but to a real christian none of your "facts" or "knowledge" matters. Because we know what is real, your still exploring this universe and ultimatly you haven't come to a diffenate answer, that is why you continue to ask more questions instead of leaving it at there is no God, you still wonder. But nothing you say will make an impact on some one who has truely met God because we know that he is real. There is no doubt, and now i ask you a question. How can we be so sure? Its not hard headedness or anything else keeping us from simply say like you there isn't a God, its the fact that we have exspiriance God and know him and walk dailey in a relationship with him, and we have no doubts that what we give our lives to and maybe even one day for, is real. Your searching for the answers to the wrong questions...try finding the answer to why does he love me after all that i've done? why does he still want to forgive me? why does did he send his son to die for me knowing all that i'd say about him? Why does he continue to care and continue to cry out to me even though i ignore...He loves you, you can joke about what i've written all you want you can try to prove everything i've said wrong, but i don't care because he wanted me to tell you that he loves you. You diserve the chance to know that. When the time comes, you can't say it was unfair and you never heard the truth.

Wow, that was quite a rant... I'm not quite sure what point you were trying to argue, other than that you won't observe the facts, but you'd rather rely on "faith".

God is not making choices

(Anonymous)

2008-03-09 01:32 pm (UTC)

God making choices is a statement of finitude, not infinity. Choices imply activity. Activity implies time. Time implies change. God is none of the above, He lives in the eternal now. Not in the eternal now and then.

I agree with you, Vexen,

(Anonymous)

2008-05-29 10:10 pm (UTC)

if there IS any God in existence up there, if He/She really DOES exist, This Creature is just a disgusting one, I don't know, if I can trust, & whereto there's then only ONCE alternative left, that's The Buddhism, you're pls. welcome to take up with me, so that I can later on, the sooner,
the better, of course tell & e.g. help you & myself become whatever supporters of, what common sense is & e.g. all about, greetings, 'J.A.,'
Ifoundittout@yahoo.com, maybe to be continued.

On God and Love

(Anonymous)

2010-04-30 08:03 am (UTC)

Good and love for us cannot exactly be measured by God the Father's actions due to His differing position with us. God is able to judge the people He created; we are told not to because He is the only one qualified to do so. If you read the bible where it says God is love, it equates love and goodness as expected from us in the way that it was demonstrated by Jesus (God in human form). The opinions of different churches and denominations about goodness and love very well may have changed over time, but the bible is clear that God's requirement from us is that we love, and love has to do with sacrificing for the benefit of another. "This is love: Not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." Again, Jesus is the example of love because He is God in human form. Surely even you can admit that we as people fail to love each other time and time again. Jesus is the example of goodness and love, but much more importantly, he died to save us from the penalty for all the times we failed to love others. Without some type of greater source of goodness, we can't establish the basis for any type of absolute morality and thus shouldn't really care about anybody but ourselves.

Also, it's illogical to assume that because Jesus (and God the Father by extension) always chose to do the right thing means he has no free will and is amoral. On amoral decisions, there were many different possible outcomes to his actions. The fact of the matter is that He always considered the long-term consequences of sin and therefore chose the option of love in every situation.

If I were offered the options between one million dollars or 100 years in prison, I would choose the former every time. It's not because I don't have free will, but rather because the choice is obvious. The same was true for Jesus: Sin was always a choice with bad consequences, and obedience to God had positive consequences. I can think of many times when I have been able to predict with 100% accuracy other people's actions in a given situation based on prior knowledge about them. It's not that they didn't have freewill. It's just that my knowledge about their character helped me determine the inevitable outcome.

In my opinion, the problems you face if you deny the existence of God are much more serious. If God does not exist, what is the basic definition of love? (On a side note, love is clearly defined in 1 Corinthians 13.) Your argument of obedience to God's command stripping love from action itself begs the question, "What is love?" An atheist, denying any creator of the visible or invisible, seems to be comfortable taking things for granted that can only exist in the presence of a higher, more sophisticated being.

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