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Vexen Crabtree 2015


Vexen Crabtree's Live Journal

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

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Vexen Crabtree, LS Meet

Absence Theodicy

"The Absence Theodicy is the argument that seen as "God" is "goodness", anything not good such as evil and suffering, is the absence of God. Therefore, the absence theodicy claims that God is not responsible for evil, merely for good.

What this does is put "good" and "evil" either side of a scale. We define many scales as part of our experience. From "hot" to "cold", from "rich" to "poor", we measure all kinds of things on all kinds of scales. What all of them have in common is that God created them. God, in most monotheistic religions including Christianity and Islam, created heat and cold, created the "ups" and "downs" and created every little in-between bit of all those scales. Likewise, God created the scale of good and evil. God could have created a scale of "amazing goodness" through to "medium goodness" down to "amateur goodness", and therefore let all beings experience no evil or suffering. That God decided to create evil, suffering and pain and put them on the scale is an inexplicable act for a supposedly all-good god. The explanation that suffering is the absence of good is not sufficient to explain why God created suffering in the first place. Either God is evil or it does not exist.

"Either God is evil or it does not exist."

Or god is basicly good but not perfect.
After all to say God is evil is as poor a statement as god is good.
(He could of course be totaly evil but really incompitent.)

That's a perfectly reasonable conclusion, too. An imperfect God is beyond the scope of anything I write - I stick to the Greek tri-omni God, or the Pantheist omnipresent impersonal God, it gets too confusing and pagan and I can't figure out the logic (or need) for imperfect gods.

http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/opengod.html discusses a form of God that is not tri-omni under Greg Boyd, a Christian evangelist with interesting views.

Origins (Anonymous) Expand
Nothing, including God, is all-good. The spiritual realm/God encompasses all. Part of an individual's "coming into being" involves discerning good and evil for himself and gaining understanding of those scales, and becoming firmly cognizant of who he is and what he stands for.

What is "coming into being", why would you want to do that, and why do we need to? Seems like quite a random, superfluous idea to me.

Being able to be cognizant of your own individuality does not logically require God to have created evil, as far as I can tell.

The theodicies listed are related to an all-powerful all-good God, if you believe in a god that isn't all-good then the chances are the problem of evil doesn't cause contradictions for you.

See The Open View of God, for a similar "imperfect" God that doesn't suffer from the contradiction of the existence of evil:

I've updated the page I posted to include an introduction to the problem of evil, just to set the context a bit better.

I was using coming into being to mean realizing and defining ourselves through our chosen beliefs and behavior. I think we'd want to because, for me at least, having no personal system means there is no stand taken on anything.

I don't think of God as creating either suffering or evil. I don't think of those things as having been created. They seem to be conditions, not creations and I can't seem to reconcile the two in my mind. If suffering and evil are created in any way, maybe they are created as a natural result of human behavior wrongly motivated and chosen - wrongly for the individual in question.

Necessarily the only conditions possible are the ones created by God.

The only possible results on human behaviour are the possible results created by god: all possible actions are those created by God.

Why do you think "coming into being" has to involve good/evil, and not merely the varying scales of good? God, as creator of the rules of the universe, could easily have made it so that "coming into being" only required the experience and choice between lots of various states of goodness and happiness.

"coming into being" doesn't seem to be a good excuse for the creation of evil by God.

(Deleted comment)
The problem of evil is one of the major problems that theorists in the existeence of god need to get around in order to justify their position.

Subservience to an evil being makes yourself more evil, even if you believe that being to be good. Subservience to god, who is more likely an evil being than a good one, is too risky and too dodgy. THATS what the problem of evil is. Without a good explanation of why suffering exists, God is a monster.

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
Crowd Controler ? (Anonymous) Expand
Re: Crowd Controler ? (Anonymous) Expand


Here's an answer you will not like, nor understand, HUMAN GOOD, minus God, is SATAN's plan. Satan, like you, desires to abolish all religions, especially Christianity, and establish HUMAN GOOD. You see, Satan's plan/desire is that all humans be good ... MINUS GOD/JESUS. Satan's desire is to establish his own eutopia on earth, which he can rule over ... can't rule over rebellious/bad people, can you? However, he forgets, like himself, all of us humans have an old sin nature we are born with ... we are born to rebel. Too bad for Satan ... he can't fix that "old sin nature/rebellion" problem and neither can ANY HUMAN on this earth now or to come. Only one entity, God, had a solution to it (while here on earth), and that was to accept Jesus as our savior for the payment of our rebellious/sinful nature and turn to God. You see, as a born-again, Bible-believing Christian, I STILL SIN and will continue to do so until I die. HOWEVER, I sin less and desire to sin less as each year that passes in my life. Not by my own doing/desire, but because the Holy Spirit resides in my heart. It's hard to explain to a non-believer. I realize when I am sinning immediately and desire more and more to turn from doing it. As God says, when you are born-again, you are a

Re: Evil/Good

Well said that man. The sooner Satan (sorry Vexen) shuts up this clap-trap which serves purely to make people miserable the better!

Sorry, Bible believers, but you can't have it both ways.

Absence theodicy and the "Holy" Bible can't both be true. Isaiah 45:7 quotes the magic sky daddy as admitting that he creates evil. Then again he also admits to creating darkness; so much for that cute little story.

Re: Sorry, Bible believers, but you can't have it both ways.

He in no way says He creates evil. He says that He creates disaster. Evil is not disaster. The disaster that God creates is for His purposes, which are good. These are things like the destruction of Sodom. None of us deserve what we currently have. We deserve death and eternal separation from Him. That He would give us a chance to avoid this and certain disaster proves His mercy and love. (and good, non-evilness) As far as the darkness is concerned, whatever translation you read may not have been clear. If you look at the absence theory from a scientific perspective, you will see that it is very true. The darkness spoken of here is not a lack of light, but an existence of the lack of light. If you go into the for corners of a cave where the sunlight does not reach, there you will find darkness. God created that cave and all parts of it. For this reason, we can conclude that He created an area of space where there is darkness. This is very different than Him actually creating darkness. In the same way, He has not created darkness in peoples' lives; it is there because of te lack of His light in their lives (because they have rejected Him). I think that about covers it....

For starters, read the Bible

Maybe you all should try to actually read the Bible and do a little bit of research before you make such claims. God did create everything perfect, and without evil. For starters, read Genesis. It was our own sin as humans that brought about the presence of evil (or more correctly termed the absence of God's love). Even if this quote was not from Albert Einstein it does not by any means diminish its logical validity. If God were to have created things perfectly, and without the option for us to screw it up, then how would we possibly have free will and free choice? And then how would God possibly be able to have a deep relationship with us...it would be one sided. I know I wouldn't want that, so why would an all-powerful God? We took that choice, screwed it up for us, and in no way did God create it. You may be thinking that he created it by giving us free choice...for that I defer back to what I said about having a two-sided relationship. Not to mention that a life without free choice would be very unpleasant--can someone say dictatorship or fascism?

Re: For starters, read the Bible

1) The text you are replying to is about God in general, not the Christian god in particular. As such, you'd do as well to read up on philosophy in general rather than rely on the text of one particular religion in order to understand the text.

2) It may well be in the Bible that God created everything perfect, but it doesn't make logical sense and still doesn't answer the questions raised in my text.

3) Free Will Does Not Require the Existence of Evil or Suffering

4) If it can possibly exist, then God created it. That's what an ultimate, absolute or all-powerful creator IS: The creator of *everything*. Good and bad, good and evil, suffering and euphoria. Every emotion and every "effect" of every "cause"; all possibilities were made possible by God.

5) There is no evil or suffering in heaven, there is no sin. Are you saying that being in heaven is like being in a dictatorship, fascist country or when in heaven you only have a one-sided relationship with god?

You're "scale" theory, or whatever is way off balance. It does NOT matter whether or not Einstein said that or not. What if some bimbo scientist added his name to that??? I could ask you the same questions and the answers would be the same. God did not create evil. Duh! When Satan (with freewill like us all) fell to the temptation of pride and wanting to be like God, he was sent into Hell and thus sin and evil entered into the world. Adam and Eve also fell to the same temptation that Satan succombed to in Genesis 3. This is why. If you cared to know the truth instead of just bashing everything else like your kind do, then I have a site for you, thingsreveled.net click on the Origin of Evil link.

A Thought

You can argue about "evil" all day, but there is no other explanation for life other than God. If you want to know why you can e-mail me at: roseceek@juno.com.

The reason I say to e-mail me is because I don't think I'm ever gonna get on this site again. So yeah.

No one is free

Freedom is not the ability to "choose".

Freedom is having no constraints or limits; being subject to no laws or rules.

Humans make choices, but this does not make them free.
We act based on incomplete information with finite resources in a finite period of time to satisfy our needs and desires.

Any "god" who would be tormented by the actions of the pathetic little creatures on a small patch of congealed matter in the vastness of space is not a being I would have confidence in.

If "god" is so miserable and embittered (aka Holy) maybe he/she/it should rethink this whole plan instead of being like the old man who screams at the filth on TV, but won't turn it off.

A good craftsman does not blame his tools.
A good god does not blame his creations.

Re: No one is free

Oh, really? I guess since we consider "freedom" as a good thing then by your definition societies should already be flourishing more and more. Ironically, the great deal of libertinism, that you so call "freedom", that prevails nowadays it's provoking its physical and moral decay, while the nations that followed the laws and rules established for the good of the country flourished and prospered.

Having a mind that can make decisions on its own is part of the freedom we have. The ability to choose is *not* Freedom but it's part of it.

It's funny that you said "We act based on incomplete information with finite resources in a finite period of time to satisfy our needs and desires." Then immediately you place judgement over God by saying "Any "god" who would be tormented by the actions of the pathetic little creatures on a small patch of congealed matter in the vastness of space is not a being I would have confidence in.
If "god" is so miserable and embittered (aka Holy) maybe he/she/it should rethink this whole plan instead of being like the old man who screams at the filth on TV, but won't turn it off." Wasn't that an act based on *incomplete information* with *finite resources* in an *finite period of time* to satisfy YOUR needs and desires of belittling "God"? Amazing how can you make an statement and then completely ignore it.

Certainly Free Will doesn't require Evil to exist, but Evil does need it to exist. But not only the Free Will to choose but the Free Will to DESIRE it and to DO it.

God is a God of Love. This means that Love is part of his nature. He desires to love and to be loved. There's a dilemma here: in order for one to be able to love, one must have the free will to do so. Otherwise it would be like being machines, doing because we have no other choice. This opens the way, however, to decide not to and even to hate. A love relationship is not unilateral. Since God desires to love and to be loved, when He created the angels and humans, He gave us Free Will so that we could truly love Him and He could truly love us. But we decided not to.

To know, to have the knowledge of what is Evil is not evil in itself. It is the Desire and the Action in itselves. God created the Angels with this knowledge. But one of them, Lucifer, decided to go against God and destroy Him. Thus was how Evil, Sin, came to exist. Lucifer was defeated and humiliated and banished away from the Heavens. From there on he was called Satan, which means Enemy.
When God created Man, he also gave them Free Will to chose Him or choose our own way. Satan persuaded us to do our own way separate and so we chose our own way which lead us to Sin. Because of Sin we became imperfect and so our world not only physically but spiritually. Death and Suffering were the result of this.

Yeah, a good craftsman does not blame his tools (which God doesn't), but also "Dare the clay say to its modeler, "What are you doing?"


i love you vexen

Thanks dude, I know, I know.

If God created us perfect and without suffering then we wouln't be grateful for anything. We'd have nothing to compare "good" to. Statements such as, "She's a nice person," would have no meaning and relationships would have no value. You'd ask, "Nice compared to what?" Without suffering there is no purpose to being alive. We'd all be robots with no free will and THAT is true slavery.

Unfortunately, atheists have this unreasonable expectation of those who label themselves Christian. We're expected to be "perfect" and without hypocracy. I call myself a Christian because I am a follower of Christ. Not because I AM Christ. Only Christ is perfect. I am not, so I am bound to make mistakes. Also, atheists and others who don't believe in Christianity think that Christians are supposed to have all the answers and that just because we can't answer everything logically that the Bible must not be true. Again, we are human and do not have infinite knowledge, only God has that. So quit expecting us to answer every little detail.

Equally unfortunate is that most Christians have never read the entire Bible and have no clue what walking with Christ is about.

I linked to your page on theodicy when the absence-of-god idea came under discussion at exChristian.net, and since you are trying to collect effective refutations of each major justification for the coexistence of evil and god, I thought it would be helpful to comment on your standing argument from several years ago.

Your refutation of absence theodicy relies on a dualism of good and evil which is actually foreign to the theodicy itself. Within its logic, good and evil are *not* on either side of a scale created by god, nor even opposite terms at all.

In one example circulated among Christians who wish to bolster their argument with metaphors from science, the perception of evil and good is compared to the perception of cold and hot. We think of cold as the opposite of heat. From physics, however, we know there is no such energy or force as cold. It is simply the relative absence of heat. If we move away from a heat source, we will feel cold, but it is absurd to suggest that the furnace creates the cold.

The notion that god radiates goodness or perhaps is goodness itself, and that if we move away from this source of goodness we experience pain, works fine for conceptions of god as a sort of presence connecting people or the like. It works rather poorly with a conscious, personified and all-powerful entity such as the god of evangelical Christians. For starters, suffering in the world does not correlate with the absence of Christianity, so either evil is tautologically defined as whatever is not-Christian, or the god to which the absence theodicy points is not the Christian god, or at a minimum not exclusively that god.

Disproving the theodicy with particular notions of creation and the nature of god's power introduces concepts not contained within the theodicy itself. Fundamentalists of all stripes introduce contradictory concepts with stunning frequency, and your refutation would point out a logical inconsistency for those who do. They are easy targets. Theodicies created by some of the West's most thoughtful philosophers are not the straw men that Fundamentalists make them!

scales are arbitrary

Scales are arbitrary measuring devices created by the minds of humans. God did not create scales. God may have created certain things on the scale (at various places or on the ends), but as soon as something exceeds the extremes, the scale changes. Thus, I can measure art on a scale of Michaelangelo (10) to my kindergarten fingerpaintings (1) , but as soon as someone creates a better or worse work of art, that scale changes. Or, in material science, a material's hardness is measured from 1 to 10, with 10 being a diamond, the hardest material known. If scientists create a harder material in the lab, the scale has now changed: it now goes to 11.

Things like light, heat, and in this example, good, do not have scales with a set maximum. They do have a set minimum: absolute zero, pitch black, and Hell. (Hell is defined as the complete absence of God.) So a world with absolutely no God would by definition be purely evil. (A zero on the goodness scale). This is why natural things like death, chaos, and destruction are viewed as evil, while things traditionally seen as God-given (like life, intelligence, and creativity) are seen as good, since they are expressions of God.

I'm not totally sold on the absence theodicy, but at least this illustrates that God didn't define the scale of good and evil: human acts are creations -- works of art, you might say. Therefore, I can always create a better or worse work than anybody else has. That stretches the scale to now include what I just did. God created humans, but did not create the actions that those humans do. The humans did.