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Justification For Evil


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A common argument against the God of the bible is the presence of evil. You look at the world and you see evil.

 

The argument that Christians come up with is "There is evil because of free will".

 

But then why did God create free will, if it leads to evil?

 

Because free will also leads to good.

 

If everything was dictated by puppet strings, there would be no morality. There would be no "right" or "wrong", there would just be isness. So for God to make good, he must also make evil. He does this by creating free will.

 

Thoughts?

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Screwball reasoning from xtians is that evil exists in order to show the justice of God's love for those who do his will. Righteousness cannot be revealed unless there is an evil by which to compare it. God allows evil to exist in order to prove love and righteousness are superior and will defeat evil. And we all know how well that idea has played out through history!

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Screwball reasoning from xtians is that evil exists in order to show the justice of God's love for those who do his will. Righteousness cannot be revealed unless there is an evil by which to compare it. God allows evil to exist in order to prove love and righteousness are superior and will defeat evil. And we all know how well that idea has played out through history!

 

But do you agree that without free will, and therefore by allowing evil, there could be no good?

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I think good exists because people choose to be good. I don't believe that god gave anyone free will. Free will is a normal state of being. Everything we do is a choice. If love can exist without god then so can free will to do good, to decide not to do evil. Good exists in the face of evil. The existence of evil does not enhance the righteousness of doing good.

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I think good exists because people choose to be good. I don't believe that god gave anyone free will. Free will is a normal state of being. Everything we do is a choice. If love can exist without god then so can free will to do good, to decide not to do evil. Good exists in the face of evil. The existence of evil does not enhance the righteousness of doing good.

 

But evil allows good to exist. And this would debunk the argument against a benevolent god that cannot exist because of evil.

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I don't think the proper argument is that because evil exists the god of the bible cannot exist. Rather, the argument is that, if the god of the bible exists, then he is the creator of evil.

 

Take the story in Genesis of the fall of man. In that story, the first act of disobedience on the part of a human being was to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil when god commanded them not to eat the fruit from that tree. From that alone, the story tells us that both good and evil existed prior to Eve eating of the forbidden fruit. After all, how could there be fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil if there were no good or evil about which to learn? If both good and evil existed prior to the fall of man and if god created all things then this god created evil. Evil, therefore, is not a result of the alleged free will of human beings.

 

What the story in Genesis tells us is that what Eve and later Adam did wrong was to disobey god's command not to eat the forbidden fruit. From that we learn that the desire of the god of the bible was to have people who followed his commands but people failed in this expectation. But it was god who created everything that led to Eve's and Adam's disobedience. He created both good and evil, he created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he created the temptor (the serpent) and he made all of that available to Eve and Adam. But neither Eve nor Adam had perfect free will since prior to Eve succumbing to the serpent's temptation to sample that which god had created, she could not have had knowledge of good and evil and so could not tell the difference between the two concepts. Therefore, she could not have chosen evil since she did not understand it.

 

For the story to mean what Christians try to say it means, that Eve and Adam exercised their free will to embrace evil, god would first have had to command Eve and Adam to eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil so they understood those concepts. And then and only then could they have made a proper choice between the two.

 

The true moral of that story, I believe, is to obey god in all things whether or not one understands the reason for his commands.

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No, evil does not allow good to exist. Evil is not the controlling power of the universe. Humans are not born evil. Evil is taught or learned over time. People are naturally good and sometimes go bad. Good does not tolerate evil. What is evil? Is an animal killing another for food evil? No, that is just nature playing out.

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No, evil does not allow good to exist. Evil is not the controlling power of the universe. Humans are not born evil. Evil is taught or learned over time. People are naturally good and sometimes go bad. Good does not tolerate evil. What is evil? Is an animal killing another for food evil? No, that is just nature playing out.

 

Dude. Read my question and original post again. Free will = morality = good AND evil.

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No, evil does not allow good to exist. Evil is not the controlling power of the universe. Humans are not born evil. Evil is taught or learned over time. People are naturally good and sometimes go bad. Good does not tolerate evil. What is evil? Is an animal killing another for food evil? No, that is just nature playing out.

 

Dude. Read my question and original post again. Free will = morality = good AND evil.

Dude, like I totally read your OP. Free will does not have to include evil. Free will is not an expression of evil and good. Free will is an expression of choice at the moment. Free will does not equal a morality of good and evil. Evil does not have to exist to have Free will or morality. Evil is just a choice. You have a free will to make that choice but evil does not have to exist to make goodness 'good' or a mix of a morality of good and evil. One does not have to have evilness to express goodness.

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Free will does not lead to evil. People's desires lead to evil. An evil person will choose to do works of evil. That is not a standard for all people.

 

So you're saying that greed and selfishness are not as natural a consequence as "good"? Why does free will default to good? I don't think it necessarily does.

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Are you born evil? Are you born good? Are you born in sin?

Greed and selfishness are an acquired trait, one is not born greedy and selfish.

 

And is goodness not also an acquired trait?

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The argument that Christians come up with is "There is evil because of free will".

 

But then why did God create free will, if it leads to evil?

 

Because free will also leads to good.

 

So for God to make good, he must also make evil. He does this by creating free will.

 

Thoughts?

 

The Christian concept of good and evil rests upon the biblegod's Will. What is good from the human standpoint in Eden is defined as obedience to His Will. What is evil, is disobedience. Freewill was non-existent before the Fall because, as OvercameFaith said, humans had no knowledge of good and evil. They were biblebots, as happy as the Stepford wives in submission to the biblegod.

 

After the Fall, let's assume there is freewill. Now humans have learned what is good and evil according to the biblegod's magically dictating what is good and evil through the magic fruit. God IS good and everything else is evil. There is no objective "good" except for Divine Commands. So, freewill is the choice to obey Divine Will, or to disobey. The whole argument of freewill leading to good is really leading to God's Will.

 

God does not make good and evil. He separates the two by defining Himself as the sole Good, and you know who and what are considered evil! Nor does He give us freewill. There is only choice constrained by the threat of punishment for disobedience. There is no choice that is free from punishment. In the end, the biblegod is only interested in His own desire for justice via punishment, not human happiness or well-being and the alleviation of physical and mental suffering, which to humanity is the definition of what is good.

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Selfishness and greed is found even in the animal kingdom, excluding people. People have the capacity to choose good over evil. I don't see how evil is a moral trait. What is good and what is evil? In some societies what we may think is good, they may perceive as evil and visa versa. The Christian concept of free will is defined by the Christian notion that man is born inherently evil and that man must come to know the will of god in order to understand goodness and righteousness. I don't believe that. I believe man is inherently good and learns to do evil. Goodness becomes the trait of a person as he grows and matures. Selfishness and greed are the signs of immaturity, not necessarily evil. Evil only becomes a moral trait when a person chooses to make evil a way of life.

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Selfishness and greed is found even in the animal kingdom, excluding people. People have the capacity to choose good over evil. I don't see how evil is a moral trait. What is good and what is evil? In some societies what we may think is good, they may perceive as evil and visa versa. The Christian concept of free will is defined by the Christian notion that man is born inherently evil and that man must come to know the will of god in order to understand goodness and righteousness. I don't believe that. I believe man is inherently good and learns to do evil. Goodness becomes the trait of a person as he grows and matures. Selfishness and greed are the signs of immaturity, not necessarily evil. Evil only becomes a moral trait when a person chooses to make evil a way of life.

 

I understand this. But I am playing God's (Devil's lol) advocate here.

 

I'm just saying that in order for God to be able to create someone with the capacity to do good, he would also have to make someone with the capacity to do evil. So the evil within the world while techincally being "gods fault" is not a good enough reason to say that a loving benevolent god does not exist, a la epicurus.

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It would have made more sense to have a God who is "I am that I am." and just stuck with it. Everything is, I am would be the best fit for this universe. It would be disgusting to think God is both good and evil but it also means God would have a nice greyness and is more complex. It would also make God and Christianity compatible with many other religions. He is Allah, He is Zeus, He is Venus, He is Ra, He is an alien, He is a computer, He is the spirit in everything, He is the universe, He is anything and everything and he is she. And Christianity would be saner as a result and means there's no self-righteousness and less fundamentalism. I think this would be the end stage of all religion in terms of evolution. One becomes everything and nothing. He is science and knowledge; morality and love. What else is there to say? Incidentally, the pagans themselves read their gods symbolically as well as literally. In the end, I think the pagans deities were read as symbolically.

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A common argument against the God of the bible is the presence of evil. You look at the world and you see evil.

 

 

IMO, "good" and "evil" are just religionist's attempts of trying to reduce human behavior to black and white, (which is pretty much what religion tries to do with everything), which I think is just an illusion. In fact Christianity pretty much teaches that the good works of men are like filthy rags in the eyes of the LARD, so as far as the LARD is concerned, there is no such thing as good, there is only evil.

 

I think the majority of human behaviors and activities that people carry out on a daily basis are neither good or evil. Most people get up on the morning, they go to work, they come home, they eat, they relax and they go to bed. Are these behaviors good or evil? And based on who's definition? I don't think either, it's just carrying out the required tasks that are essential to one's survival. On occasion someone might do a Biblically defined "good" deed like stone disobedient children as the LARD commands, or an "evil" deed like pick up sticks on the Sabbath, but for the most part I think people just go about their lives without regard to any of this. Well at least until their religion gives them a guilt trip for doing something "evil", perhaps like a Muslim woman removing her Burkha in public (now that is PURE evil - I think we can all agree on that).

 

There might be small numbers of people who do extraordinary deeds most would call "good" like Mother Theresa, or people who devote their lives to helping kids with cancer, or extraordinary deeds that most would call "evil" like Adolph Hitler, or maybe the child rapist/killer across town, but for your average person just trying to get through life, I don't think any of this is very relevant.

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There might be small numbers of people who do extraordinary deeds most would call "good" like Mother Theresa, or people who devote their lives to helping kids with cancer, or extraordinary deeds that most would call "evil" like Adolph Hitler, or maybe the child rapist/killer across town, but for your average person just trying to get through life, I don't think any of this is very relevant.

 

I don't know if Hitler would be classified as evil by the Christian God since he had quite a habit of commanding or performing acts of genocide.

 

 

 

 

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I'm just saying that in order for God to be able to create someone with the capacity to do good, he would also have to make someone with the capacity to do evil.

 

I think the main problem is that this premise is unsupported. Why does someone have to have the capacity to do evil in order to do have the capacity to do good? Does a calculator need to have the capacity to give a wrong answer in order to have the capacity to give a right answer? I have seen Christians make the analogy that evil is necesary for good just like feeling physical pain is necessary for feeling physical pleasure. And yet, there are people in the world who can feel pleasure but are unable to feel pain, those who have congenital insensitivity to pain.

 

Respectfully,

Franciscan Monkey

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I'm just saying that in order for God to be able to create someone with the capacity to do good, he would also have to make someone with the capacity to do evil.

 

I think the main problem is that this premise is unsupported. Why does someone have to have the capacity to do evil in order to do have the capacity to do good? Does a calculator need to have the capacity to give a wrong answer in order to have the capacity to give a right answer? I have seen Christians make the analogy that evil is necesary for good just like feeling physical pain is necessary for feeling physical pleasure. And yet, there are people in the world who can feel pleasure but are unable to feel pain, those who have congenital insensitivity to pain.

 

Respectfully,

Franciscan Monkey

 

Because for someone to be able to do good, they have to have free will. Which means they have the capacity to do evil. Derp.

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Because for someone to be able to do good, they have to have free will. Which means they have the capacity to do evil. Derp.

 

 

You're begging the question there.

 

The need to have free will to do good is an assumption not a fact thus you can't claim the conclusion you did.

 

Lets test this.

 

Do dogs have free will?

Do cats?

Do frogs?

Do ants?

Does bacteria?

Do viruses?

 

A no answer yields that they they are running predetermined lives, clearly there is a problem here since they interact with us who are free willed they cannot know how to behave in advance unless we ourselves are subject to determinism and that clearly violates the notion that we are free willed.

Therefore, all life must also be free willed.

 

A yes answer means they are all capable of good or evil. This means that a virus must not only be self aware but also aware of its impact on others. Clearly this is not possible.

 

The only conclusion is that good/evil is not a function of free will.

 

So unless you've got some really good reasons to assume that free will is a pre-requisite for doing good or evil I'm going to have to say there is none.

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I've had this conversation with several Christians. My question is if there must necessarily be evil to demonstrate what is good, then why doesn't the idea of heaven include free will and the opportunity for evil? Most Christians believe that there will be no evil in heaven. But this contradicts the claim that evil, or the opportunity to do it, must exist alongside good.

 

Also, how can the idea that god can't do evil be compatible with this?

 

But this is why there are varieties of beliefs about free will. I lingered in Calvinistic circles for a short time, and they deny the concept of free will. Although this helps them resolve some of this conflict in their minds, it never answers the question of the problem of the existence of evil alongside an omnipotent and perfectly good god.

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Why would Mr. Perfect put a “tree of knowledge” somewhere to make it accessible to Eve if he didn’t want her to be enticed by it? Why would he allow the serpent to roam around this all great Garden of Eden? If she disobeyed by using “free will” and ate of the tree, why would God not realize this would happen? Why would god just not wipe them out and start over? Obviously he makes mistakes. If we don’t have free will then god knew Eve would eat of the tree and he wanted it to happen, that would make him evil, because apparently he wanted to cast them out into the cold. Otherwise he could move the tree, or create a wall of thorns around the tree or something. He obviously put it within reach to see what would happen, and then he must not know everything or he wanted it to happen. As far as free will/good and evil, well there are a lot of other factors that are present in the human psyche that play a role in whether someone does good or evil. God does create evil, he created Satan. All things good are of God and all things evil are of Satan. Lucifer was created perfect in all his ways, but iniquity was found in him. It was not put there by God. Lucifer created it. (Ezekiel 28:15 ) So Lucifer was perfect yet not. God couldn’t see this coming? Why is god so easy to cast everyone out, and down if he is the one who creates them and knows what’s going to happen? If you ask me god sounds like an idiot who likes to tinker with stuff and then blames everyone else when he doesn’t like the outcome…..or there is no god in which case this whole thing is moot. :scratch:

 

 

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