[size=150]The following is a preview of an upcoming topic:[/size]



[b]In the philosophy of religion and theology, the problem of evil is the problem of reconciling the existence of evil or suffering in the world with the existence of God, a force for infinite good. The problem is most often discussed in the context of the personal god of the Abrahamic religions, but is also relevant to polytheistic traditions involving many gods… A proposed solution to this dilemma is called a theodicy.

Epicurus is generally credited with first expounding the problem of evil, and it is sometimes called “the Epicurean paradox” or “the riddle of Epicurus.” In this form, the argument is not really a paradox or a riddle, but is considered by some critics as being a reductio ad absurdum of the premises.[/b]

“Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?” — Epicurus, as quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief

Epicurus himself did not leave any written form of this argument. It can be found in Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura and in Christian theologian Lactantius’s: Treatise on the Anger of God where Lactantius critiques the argument.

(Wikipedia: The Problem of Evil,

Atheist classicalist James H. Dee also presents the problem in stunning detail:

"In it’s most simplified form, the problem arises when one makes three simultaneous assertions in a firmly monotheistic context: ‘God is all-knowing’, ‘God is all-powerful’, and ‘God is absolutely good.’ But the world we see around us, both now and in the past, does not conform to the expectations that might be created by those three statements.

Instead, we find horrors and miseries at all times and places, some caused by blind natural forces, but many inflicted deliberately by humans upon each other, often with a staggering level of violence and cruelty.

It is simply self-contradictory to contemplate the horrifying spectacle of human misery, especially the first 95,000 years of our species, and then use the word “good” in it’s ordinary-language meaning to describe an entity which, by definition, must have the power to eliminate evil totally and forever."

(Dee, James H.: “Good God” Is A Virtual Contradiction In Terms, Editorial, Austin-American Statesman-June 23, 2001)


[size=150][b]• Can God be trusted to protect YOU and the people you love?

• Does God adhere to the Golden Rule, or does he “pull rank”, and rules only in a “do as I say and not as I do” manner (when it comes to adherence to the Golden Rule)?

• Does “goodness” to God even remotely resemble “goodness” as generally understood by human beings?

• If not, then are human responses to “God’s will” ultimately a matter of “mine-field navigation”–followed for the sake of pre-afterlife and afterlife survival, in order to avoid the wrath of a being that possesses an incomprehensible and alien perception of morality?[/b][/size]

[size=120]END PREVIEW[/size]

This topic coming soon! (June 9, 2008 tentative posting date)


Jay M. Brewer

What if evil is needed to make man better? Epicurus did not think of that possibility.

i would say; evil does not exist! show me a single example of it and i will show you nature or insanity.

good point about the contradiction of what the world is really like and the excuses we have to make to fit god into it. let us use occams razor on the very idea and ask; why try to find reasons beyond the simple truth? existence is like it is because right from the start it is just nature finding form, the evolution tree goes right back to the beginning of the universe and beyond into its eternity.

there is no outside of it, no infinity, god nor matrix, no anything.

Groovy post. Much enjoyed.

Reply To quetzalcoatl:

[b]I would say that “evil” definitely exists to those who are victims of it. One could argue that evil “does not exist” only to those who never suffer.

Occam’s Razor and the notion that life is nothing more than “nature finding form” is attractive, it solves the “problem of evil” without raising a sweat. But there’s that little problem of epistemology: How do we know that Occam’s Razor (the type that supports that no god exists) is obeyed by objective reality? Also, one can argue that God is not necessarily beyond “nature finding form” he could simply be a bizarre aspect of it.[/b]

Reply To Kriswest:

I think that he did, as did Hume. The point of the whole “problem of evil” thing, as I will describe in greater detail in the upcoming thread, is that there seems to exist no a priori necessity for the existence of “good evil” (suffering that brings about positive psychological and moral results). God could have created a universe where “good evil” is absolutely unnecessary. Is there a reason why the positive results from suffering cannot exist without the deprivation that brings it about?

Reply to Joker:

[b]Thanks. But despite the seeming “anti-God” sentiment of the post, I think there is a plausible solution to the “problem of evil” that involves a God that, while not being the type of all-good God that eliminates evil totally and forever before it has a chance to exist, nevertheless comes close—by ingeniously creating a “quasi-evil” world. But more on this in the upcoming post introduced by the preview.

Good responses all![/b]

Jay M. Brewer

phenominal graffiti, hail

no it appears to exist to them, adversity has many causes, i have yet to see evil put into a test tube lols. in other words there is absolutely no evidence of it whatsoever, it is just a vague description of the ignorant [my apologies] who want to put it all into one idea.

occams razor is used to define objective reality becuase it appears to always take the quickest route or simplest way of achieving a given end. but you are right in that, if we look we may find things that don’t go by it, the universe as a whole is incredibly complex so how would occams razor define the whole ~ it cannot, it can only find simple parts thereof.

or the very act of it! :slight_smile: now give me any definition of god whatsoever!? wont we just take it apart at the seams and not find god in the process!

may i jump in here. so we have a god that creates evil so that by contrast we know good, then a day will come when we no longer need the contrast and there will only be good. however the people born in that time beyond evil would not know what god is, as there would be no comparatives?

if evil does not exist then does good exist? are they not just the notions of simpletons describing a vague world which they don’t understand very well as like in medieval europe? or at best loose terms to use in an everyday sense, but either way not fundamental to existence.

Yes there is a reason positive results cannot exist with out the deprivation. If only good happens, no pain no immoral behavior no hatred anger etc ever exists then intelligence will suffer, Stagnation of the mind and soul becomes inevitable.No need to evolve would exist. All creatures would stagnate and cease. Good by itself is as dangerous as evil without good.
Evil challenges. Suffering forces one to think, to reason, to move. It is an impetus for good health in any species. You can bemoan pain and suffering you can let it bog you down but then Darwin’s theory takes over" The strongest survive. Call evil a culling effect. If you can’t handle it you are weeded out. Adapting to suffering is needed. A god that loves its universe would reason this.

You can’t have evolution without suffering and evil. Adapt or perish. The single is not nearly as important as the whole. Would you endanger 10 of your children just to save the 11th one? As a loving parent i understand this quandry. the only possible answer is no. it is a painful no but a needed no. Some must suffer so that the whole can thrive and move forward. the other 10 children will be more wise by observing the results of the 11th one. Sounds cold and cruel but it is not, not at all. It is a loving good thing. Do you understand?

all of that can be said without the need for ‘good’ and ‘evil’, they are just vague dualistic concepts that distract from the truth.

as for survivalism, look at a peacock, clearly being handsome is more important :smiley: .

the thing is with survivalism is that prey can usually outrun the predator, so i would see nature as more of a balancing act, a predator can attack its prey when they are weakened either by youth, old age or illness. sure they will adapt to each other a long the way but it is not always the primal drive, as that would be finding ways to get food and procreate i.e. living is the primary drive. survivalism is a part of the equation but not the beginning and end all of it, nor is it ‘evil’.

Fast Reply To Quetzalcoatl and Kriswest:

[b]Sorry Guys! I’ve been busy putting the finishing touches on the main article on which this preview is based. Rest assured, I will adequately respond to your comments in this thread during this week! Have no fear…and once again. My apologies.

The main article is about to be placed into action…now.[/b]

Jay M. Brewer

Jay I’ll read yours if you’ll read one I’ve recently read that’s on the same subject.
It’s this guy…
Responding to this guy… and it’s called “evil for freedom’s sake”. It’s thourough and philosophical. An interesting thread could result. Let me know if you want it and I’ll try and post it or something.

Reply To Smears:

Sure, I’ll take it. I wonder if the conclusions drawn are the same, however.



Reply To Quetzlcoatl:

While in danger of entering a meaningless infinite regress over semantics, I think that the moral is: “What’s in a name?” Evil, I think, is simply psychological and behavioral dispositions that act to the opposite of the Golden Rule.

Anything else is confusing.



i think the problem comes in the term ‘control’, we presume god controls everything and has a divine plan. is it not wiser to make a universe that unfolds by a set of rules [universal evolution] and that allows for as much freedom as is possible without one kind of freedom treading on the toes of another.

secondly; we presume that ‘god’ is of such a nature that he has complete monopoly on existence. existence may be extraneous to even an infinite deity i.e. the universe exists [of its own accord] and god is the being of the whole, but has no or limited control over it.

thirdly we presume that god exists, it may be so [and is more likely] that the universe exists and god is its being, just like we are born and have being. one may not have any control over the other and they are both intrinsically linked to one another, or even are the same thing viewed from different angles of perspective.

Reply To Quetzalcoatl:

[b]And at the end of the day…who can argue with your view (in order to prove it false)? No one.

This is due to the fact that what you’ve described above is what Chalmers calls a logical and metaphysical possibility: conceivable states of affairs that, given the limitations of our perception and knowledge, may be true for all one knows.[/b]

[b]1. The existence of a God that completely controls the universe is a logical and metaphysical possibility.

  1. The non-existence of that God (and the truth of your post above) is also a logical and metaphysical possibility.[/b]

[b]But which one is epistemically certain (true through knowledge due to some experience that confidently defeats any and all counterarguments)?

This, “q”, is the impasse or dead end of all philosophical argument with no basis in the empirical. But that’s OK. Know why? Because it is in my best interest, despite the fact that I believe the opposite of your statements, to keep your statements safely locked away within the cognitive closet of LOGICAL POSSIBILITY—rather than for me to foolishly throw them away.

After all, as Billy Joel once sang:[/b]

“You may be wrong, but for all I know you may be right.

[b](God, I’m chock full of pop cultural references. More curse than blessing, I think. :frowning: )

Anyway, I rather like your spin on things.[/b]


thanks jay, i can but agree with your statements, perhaps we could at some point debate which is the more likely, but that would involve many sub-debates.

generally speaking i like the context of your op in that is asks if god has intellect or morality etc in the way we think of it. as god is clearly ~ in any context, very different to any kind of life we know about, then this must be true in the main.

i would simply ask which is the greater wisdom

a) control everything you created.

b) create a world where all things have their own path [‘are free’]

then to ask; is god wise? or indeed the ultimate in wisdom, and what would that be?



Reply To Quetzalcoatl:

[b]I think that the world might be such a place that God is in the position (if one believes that God exists) that he must control everything. Sort of like a comic book artist: if he doesn’t pen and ink a story, the story is not going to ink itself. That sort of thing.

As for wisdom and what constitutes wisdom sufficient for God, I can’t say.[/b]


life does ‘write’ itself, so the evidence points to a god that creates a world where we are free.

there is no doubt that writing life as a story is less dynamic that letting life write its own stories, after all god could only write one story of which all other stories are part, otherwise the whole thing is self contradicting [2 or more divine plans?].

hence we can say that the all controlling god is less dynamic, so is it wisdom to be less?

we can say what constitutes a higher wisdom for man, then that wisdom for god must be at least that!
what kind of family would you wish to ‘make’ if you were given the choice…
a) children that grow up and become individuals, learning as they go and writing their own story of life. or…
b) children that are programmed by you to grow up exactly as you say thence to live a life in exact accordance with the program you wrote? you would get no surprises and very little joy or meaning.

is a or b wisdom? [in mans terms]

In heaven there will be no great novels of movies, because there will be nothing to write about, no reason to get up in the morning, or to learn anything, because everything is already perfect, so all there is for you to do is enjoy perfection for eternity. Is that what you want for eternity? I don’t.

athena, i meant evolution, there can never be perfection as long as there is existence, there can never be complete knowing as long as there is existence. What can one do with an eternity? wonderful interesting things from bad to good and everything in between. If there is a heaven, why stay there, why not wander around and explore? I certainly would, the same with hell. I would explore all depths of heaven or hell rather than kick back and accept my lot. wouldn’t you? I know darn well I could find that unknown door leading out. :smiley: Who ever is in charge should never have put so much curiousity within me. :-"

Well, I never thought of exploring, but did determine I wouldn’t like an eternity of perfection, and if in hell, I would busy myself making things better and hope others decided to do the same.