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Does all the suffering and pain tell us anything about the nature of God?

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I went to a talk the other day and the guy set out the logical reason why, although there is evil and suffering in the world, God is actually good. Thing is, you can do the reverse...

'Here is Adam Deen's argument for the good of God switched into the argument for an evil God. Same logic.

Free will: Evil god gave us free will, so we sometimes choose to do good, even though evil god hates it. And free will also allows us to be morally responsible for evil acts, which evil god loves. He could have made us into puppets that only do evil, but then he would not have the pleasure of seeing us choose evil. To maximize evil, evil god designed us so that we can perform evil acts from our own will.

Character-destroying: Why does evil god create some beautiful things? For contrast. To make the ugly things look uglier. Why does evil god make some of us unusually healthy and wealthy? To make the suffering of the sick and poor even greater. Why does evil god let us have children that love us unconditionally? So that we will worry endlessly about them.

First order goods allow second order evils: Some evils require certain goods to exist. For example, jealousy could not exist without there being someone who has something good for your to be jealous about. Evil god had to give some of us good things so that the rest of us could feel jealousy.

Mystery: Evil god has a plan for how all the apparent goods in the world will ultimately lead to maximal evil, but evil god is so far beyond our reasoning ability that we cannot understand his plan.'


That above was set out by an athiest. Seems logical.
Is God good or evil? Does all the suffering and pain tell us anything about the nature of God?

by on Nov. 5, 2012 at 6:32 AM
Replies (11-18):
jcribb16
by on Dec. 6, 2012 at 10:05 PM

I'm really sorry if you see it that way - you seem so focused on presenting my God that way.  He doesn't want to destroy good - people, in their freedom of choosing, are responsible for destroying good things and/or being the cause of bad things.

God has no need to brag.  Neither would we if we suffered and died on the cross, completely taking on the sin of the world, and sacrificing Himself (Christ), to make a way to Him (God, the Father), through Christ, His son.

His giving more time is not for His sake and artistry - it's for the lost and the unsaved, who still have the opportunity to accept Him and spend eternity with Him.  People have the choice to choose to do good or bad, choose right or wrong, and to accept Him or not.  He wants all to come, but He will not force anyone, but is giving time...

Quoting Clairwil:

Quoting jcribb16:

God is all-powerful so He can destroy evil, and He is also all good so He wants to destroy evil. But evil is not destroyed – 
yet. But, one day it will be.

To continue...


God is all-powerful so He can destroy good, and He is also all evil so He wants to destroy good. But good is not destroyed – 
yet. But, one day it will be.  He's doing it to brag, showing off his power by delaying the final crunch so the audience have more time to fear and to admire the artistry of his mad combat skillz.


Clairwil
by Group Owner on Dec. 7, 2012 at 2:36 AM
Quoting jcribb16:

I'm really sorry if you see it that way - you seem so focused on presenting my God that way.

His giving more time is not for His sake and artistry - it's for the lost and the unsaved

Or he is doing is so the saved have a chance to fall and damn their selves. (And that doesn't explain things going on for more than 100 years after the death of Christ.  He could have just made everyone sterile, then given every living person the chance to save themselves before squishing evil.   No need to draw it out for thousands of years, by your explanation.)

Do you see?  This exercise isn't about trying to present God that way.  It is about the nature of evidence.

jcribb16
by on Dec. 7, 2012 at 12:20 PM

I don't accept the way you see it.  As a Christian, I know that the very angry part of God was changed when Christ died on that cross.  Christ took the complete sin of the world on Him, so that now, He is our mediator between us and God - we are commanded to love others, not hate, hurt, fight.

Other things that have happened during the course of even our history, have not always been done according to what Christ's command to love says to do.  Many either "assumed" what they think God wanted them to do, were scared of the unknown of some people's way of living, or used God's name as a way to fulfill their own personal agendas.

A few rotten apples are always there to mess up what the fresh and ripe apples really taste like; a few rotten groups of people are always there, too, to use God's name for their own personal bias, which then gives genuine Christians a bad reputation; including making God look evil, when He is not.

Quoting Clairwil:

Quoting jcribb16:

I'm really sorry if you see it that way - you seem so focused on presenting my God that way.

His giving more time is not for His sake and artistry - it's for the lost and the unsaved

Or he is doing is so the saved have a chance to fall and damn their selves. (And that doesn't explain things going on for more than 100 years after the death of Christ.  He could have just made everyone sterile, then given every living person the chance to save themselves before squishing evil.   No need to draw it out for thousands of years, by your explanation.)

Do you see?  This exercise isn't about trying to present God that way.  It is about the nature of evidence.


Clairwil
by Group Owner on Dec. 9, 2012 at 5:43 AM
Quoting jcribb16:

I know that the very angry part of God was changed when Christ died on that cross.  Christ took the complete sin of the world on Him, so that now, He is our mediator between us and God - we are commanded to love others, not hate, hurt, fight.

How does that work with the idea that God is perfect?   If he was perfect before, why change?

Is acting out of anger ok?  Is it good?

Why this whole blood sacrifice thing?  It is very magical.  As in, chanting a spell while sacrificing a goat, type magic.   God created the world, he created the rules, why did he set up the central meta-magic laws to require something so icky as a blood sacrifice?   Ewwww.   Sure, it made perfect story logic sense to sheep herders 4000 years ago, because they did do that sort of thing.   But now?


Sorry, that's all beside the point of this particular post.  This particular post is about evidence.   The point is that the above things you said are all a hypothesis.   There's no evidence supporting them.   All the facts you can point at, about human nature and the way things work in the world, are AT LEAST AS WELL explained by the exact opposite of your hypothesis.

Thus: it has no explanatory power.


Clairwil
by Group Owner on Dec. 9, 2012 at 5:48 AM
Quoting jcribb16:

A few rotten apples are always there to mess up what the fresh and ripe apples really taste like; a few rotten groups of people are always there, too, to use God's name for their own personal bias, which then gives genuine Christians a bad reputation; including making God look evil, when He is not.

It isn't just a few rotten apples who have set the policy of the Catholic church for more than 1000 years - that's the largest branch of Christianity.

It wasn't a few rotten apples who thought that the Bible endorsed slavery.  It was, at the time, the majority interpretation.

If there's anything at all to this 'prayers and guidance from God' thing, why oh why did that state of affairs persist for hundreds of years?


And you can bet that, in 100 years time, people will be asking the same question about why a majority of the churches today endorsed an interpretation of the Bible that leads to gay-bashing.

jcribb16
by on Dec. 9, 2012 at 6:46 PM

Everyone seemingly has their own personal interpretation of the Bible. And it matters not who tries to explain or show what things mean, because people will look at it according to how they wish, including many who personally apply whatever they wish the verses to say to support ideas or things they want to do in life.

As for gay-bashing, it is quite clear where God stands with gay sex. But He is also quite clear in His command to love each and everyone. So in my belief in God, I may not approve or agree with gay sex, but I'm still going to love them.  I have no right to judge anyone else other than myself.  I have gay friends.  One in particular is like a member of our family - even rented my mom's house from me for a year.  He's as sweet and funny as can be.  We love him for him, and what he does in his personal life is his business.  Those who bash gays needlessly are wrong in their hatefulness.  It's not their choice how gays live.  They might not approve, either, but it's not their decision, and they are indeed commanded by God to love them anyway.

We need to remember that sin is sin, period, so everyone of us errs in life, and that also means that unless we have not erred or have not sinned, then we do not have that right and privilege to cast that stone at anyone else.  The laws and rules in our country are there for a reason, true, or otherwise there would be total chaos.  But no matter how someone chooses to live their life, that's not my business nor concern, unless they are harming someone or harming themselves. Then yes, they need help or need to be turned in.

I can only share what I know and believe to be true.  It's your choice to disbelieve what I share.  I knew when I started responding in here again, that we would just continue the same circle that went on before I took a break.  I have my thoughts and beliefs based on what evidence I know to be true, and the rest is based, yes, in faith.  I am not going to try and get you to believe any of it, just as you are not going to change my mind about my belief in God.  That's fine, either way, because after all, we have our freedom of choice and free will, and neither of our decisions is going to interfere in each others' lives.

(Oh, and p.s. - I cannot answer for the Catholic churches (I am not Catholic anyway,) and I cannot answer for other groups and/or churches.  I can, however, only answer for my personal self, and am responsible and accountable for my actions and behavior when it comes to professing my faith in Christ.  I attend a church, where within, the pastor and the members believe in God's Word, believes in the fact we are to love everyone and help anyone who needs a helping hand, money, donations, clothes, food, a place to live and/or work, or whatever it is we can do, to help someone in dire need.  It also means we love all kinds of people, whether of color, nationality, rich/poor/middle, lifestyle, sexual orientation, or whatever they may be.  No one has to support or approve of things people do, but we are to love them, and I try my best to do that and give benefit of the doubt to anyone.  Thank you.)

Clairwil
by Group Owner on Dec. 9, 2012 at 7:00 PM
Quoting jcribb16:
Quoting Clairwil:
Quoting jcribb16:

A few rotten apples are always there to mess up what the fresh and ripe apples really taste like; a few rotten groups of people are always there, too, to use God's name for their own personal bias, which then gives genuine Christians a bad reputation; including making God look evil, when He is not.

It isn't just a few rotten apples who have set the policy of the Catholic church for more than 1000 years - that's the largest branch of Christianity.

It wasn't a few rotten apples who thought that the Bible enforsed slavery.  It was, at the time, the majority interpretation.

If there's anything at all to this 'prayers and guidance from God' thing, why oh why did that state of affairs persist for hundreds of years?

 

And you can bet that, in 100 years time, people will be asking the same question about why a majority of the churches today endorsed an interpretation of the Bible that leads to gay-bashing.
it is quite clear where God stands with gay sex.

People might say it is quite clear where God stands with eating shellfish.

People certainly did say that it is quite clear where God stands on allowing a white person to own a black slave.

I'm predicting that those churches who currently say that God doesn't care what two happily married men do together in the privacy of their own bedroom will do better, over the next 100 years, than who who say God does care.

Just like the issue of whether it is ok to have sex for reasons other than procreation.  Or use condoms.  Or for a man to have anal sex with a woman.  Or oral sex.  Or any number of other issues which, in the past, people have said with utter confidence that God frowned upon.


Are you aware that, right at the start of Christianity, one of the major interpretations was complete chastity?  But, surprise surprise, the churches that advocated that died out after a few generations, leaving those who didn't hold that position to spread and grow.

jcribb16
by on Dec. 9, 2012 at 7:21 PM

I think it's pretty interesting how you only chose one sentence out of everything I wrote.  I do believe, honestly, there were many over-zealous groups of people who interpreted God's Word according to their own personal agendas and likes/dislikes - what a shame and what tragedy of the many things that have happened; but God will be the ultimate Judge of those people, and of everyone (and I am remembering that many disbelieve this - their/your choice.)

Yes, it all appears to many different people as pretty interesting, gory-sounding, ridiculous, true, false, boring, all in one, doesn't it?

And things that were one way in the Old Testament, changed in the New Testament after Christ was born, lived, taught, shared salvation, went through torture and persecution, died on the cross for the sin of the world, and rose again after 3 days that He said He would do.  The New Law.  And the commandment that He adamantly urges everyone to do - "love your neighbor as yourself; love everyone,..."

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