god and natural disasters

I agree with respect to philosophy. But if there is an omniscient God then He is fully aware of the horrors inflicted on the innocent victums of natural disasters. And if, in turn, He is omnipotent He allows the innocent [the children in particular] to perish even though it was within His power to prevent this. Thus back to how such a Creator could ever be deemed loving just and merciful.

And I agree that science is in turn without a TOE. But science is making every effort possible to predict natural disasters, minimize the damages and to allay the pain and suffering once they occur.

And it is not epistemology my OP addresses, but the morality of allowing the innocent to suffer so terribly when it is not necessary.

But the point of this thread is not to explore the existence of God per se, but to presume He does exist. My aim is to probe the relationship between a God said to be beneficient and a God which clearly seems to be malevolent given the horrors He inflicts on us through natural disasters.

Certainly I can understand why people choose the advantages religion offers. But in a philosophy venue we seek to understand in turn why one would believe one thing rather than another given points of fact that are raised in regard to it.

OK, I seem to have a few minutes so I will humor you.There’s nothing special about natural disasters. They are examples of two universal facts of life: pain and death. A world without pain would be a world without pleasure. Someone living in such a world might be online right now typing a thread entitled "Why did God create such a horrible world where neither pleasure not pain can be experienced? In itself, existence is good. But all finite beings must end eventually. Some non-existent being in another world might be online right now typing "Why did God create me non-existent instead of existent? But no, that’s absurd which supports my point that finite existence is good given the alternative. But why not make all beings infinite? That’s absurd and inconceivable. So, even apart from such purposes that an omniscient God may have that we do not know, every logically possible conceivable universe we can imagine can be improved upon. Yet every improvement would create a different set of liabilities. So, God freely chose to create the world the way it is. The monstrous evils you point to only exist because there are monstrous goods. We only see them that way because the way we are set up morally and logically determines that we do so. Tweak the world whatever way you will, you will still be able to imagine how it could be better and it’s inhabitants can criticize it for being the way it is.

That does not necessarily follow. If God is all powerful He could easily have created a human condition without pain. Instead, He chose not only to create one teeming with pain, but one in which the pain inflicted through natural disasters is utterly horrific. And, in turn, a pain that seems to be inflicted on us out of the blue and aimed equally towards the most saintly and the most sinful. There is neither rhyme nor reason to it. It is just there, a part of the brute facticity built into the planet we reside on.

Also, God could have easily created a lifespan that did not end. How can you suggest this is “absurd and inconceivable”? At best you can argue that God’s ways are just “too mysterious” for us.

God can do no wrong! We just don’t “get Him”.

And yet it is said that we were made in His image. But imagine if one us were to buy some land and bury all sorts of terrible contraptions on it—devices that led to the demise of innocent children who are smothered to death, burned alive, ripped to pieces.

God is supposed to be infinitely powerful. But power is not illogical. God cannot do things that are logically impossible or if God can it is impossible for us to think and discuss them logically. Logically, a world without pain would be without pleasure too since one is defined by the other. A world without pleasure and pain would not necessarily be a better world.

The world can teem with pain because it can teem with pleasure. It can be horrific because it can be beatific. You are not presenting a balanced picture of the world as it really is.

If it weren’t for pain, the saintly could not even become saintly. Moral excellence requires adversity. Pain is an essential element in adversity.

Unsupported assertions of meaningless beg the question no less than unsupported assertions of meaning. Attributing of meaning is a personal ability. The existence of a God who allows pain for a purpose can make suffering reasonable.

We have no positive knowledge of infinitely lasting life in the natural world. That our knowledge of infinity is mostly negative is reflected in the term “infinite” itself which means “not finite”. We have no data base on an organism with an infinite life span in the natural world. Our own POV comes from the perspective of a being with a characteristic beginning, development and end. It challenges the imagination. Absurdities result like fruit that is always ripe, leaves that never fall of trees, vampires that never age, the boredom that overtakes one after the first million years etc. It’s impossible for us to imagine what an eternal life would be like. That’s what I meant by “absurd and inconceivable."

As traditionally defined God can do no wrong so whatever evils occur are in service of a greater good. We don’t entirely “get Him” but we don’t entirely “get” the reality of any world view that takes into account all that is. There is still much that is unknown about the universe however it is understood.

Your analogy left out some relevant information about the children . The children were supplied with keen intellects by which they could learn strategies for dealing with the contraptions. They were given language and social skills whereby they could share means of dealing with the contraptions with each other. Using the resources given to them, they became skillful at avoiding, defusing, and even transforming the contraptions into useful machines. As a result, they thrived and became the most successful kids in the neighborhood. Some of them realized that the challenges they had faced made them better persons. They even thanked the one who put them in the situation. They decided that when they had children they would allow them to experience challenges and the consequence of their actions so they would become better human beings too.

Bzzzt. Not true. Pleasure is defined also by it’s absence. You don’t have to go into the negative. And lack of pleasure is not pain. We speak of unpleasurable pastimes as being a pain in the ass, but this is not true either. Our asses are not actually in pain.

Right. But I previously covered that possibility and concluded that a pain/pleasure neutral world is not necessarily superior to one with pleaure and pain.

he didn’t say anything about a neutral world…

So then we are contemplating a world with only pleasure and its absence? OK how is moral excellence developed in such a world?

I don’t know. Does that matter? If so, why? I don’t think it matters.

A world without moral excellence is not necessarily a better world.

k, it’s not necessarily worse either…

Right. Which supports my point that there is no “best of all possible world.” For any possible world, we can imagine improvements.

it doesn’t “support” it, it leaves the possibility open that it could be correct. there’s a difference.

How can any mere mortal discuss God and morality as if we know what we are talking about? And how do you know what the relationship is between God and logic? Instead, we can only presume that if God is all powerful it is within his capacity to create a world without pain.

After all, wasn’t that the point in the Garden of Eden before the fruit from the tree of knowledge was eaten? Adam and Eve dared to think for themselves and now we all pay the price.

Yet how logical is Original Sin? It’s about as logical as you committing a capital crime and both you and your children being executed for it.

What does this have to do with a loving, just and merciful God allowing the pain to be meted out to the innocent? And we live in a world where a tiny fraction of the world’s population own’s 90% of the world’s wealth while over 3,000,000,000 men women and children sturggle to survive literally on less than $2 a day. What is balanced about that?

Well, that’s one way to rationalize it I suppose. But it is also sheer speculation predicated on assumptions that merely seem reasonable to you. They’re not reasonable to me.

What purpose? Again, all you offer us are vague assertions about pain and pleasure, logic and God. That’s all you’ve got in the face of the appalling headlines we read everyday. Twenty thousand children aged five years and younger die from starvation every single day—but at least the Chilean miners were rescued? Does that sort of put things into balance?

Yes, in our imagination perhaps, but not in God’s. He had the capacity to allow us to live as long as He wished. And without pain or suffering.

Instead, as per Bill Shakespeare, he gave us this:

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

In fact, isn’t this why we invent Gods—to make all that go away and, in its place, substitute immortality, salvation and devine justice?

Would that I could believe it…

Yes, Simone de Beauvoir wrote the novel All Men Are Mortal to argue that very thing. But, again, it does not necessarily follow. There are always things we can engage even if we did live to be a million. There is good food, music, love, family, art, sport, sex. And change, of course. Nothing stays the same. The human race evolves with new experiences, new challenges, new distractions. The only thing that makes it “absurd and inconsceivable” is that there is no God and mere mortals are not likely to ever bring it about.

iambiguous wrote:

And yet it is said that we were made in His image. But imagine if one us were to buy some land and bury all sorts of terrible contraptions on it—devices that led to the demise of innocent children who are smothered to death, burned alive, ripped to pieces.

And the infants, the babies?

If an earthquake occurs and you are a child pinned beneath a massive slab of concrete…what relevant information can your intellect provide?

Only this: God works in mysterious ways and soon I will be with Him for eternity! In paradise!!

If the subject is beyond rational discourse than we should be silent about it. That doesn’t justify atheism over theism.

I don’t. I thought your purpose was to have a rational discussion and I have tried to respond in kind. That would include a logical defintion of God. If we abandon logic, all we have is nonsense.

iambiguous wrote:

How can any mere mortal discuss God and morality as if we know what we are talking about?

Yes, that is what Wittgenstein once famously suggested. But few heed the call. These things fascinate us. And we never really know for sure which subjects truly are beyond rational discourse.

And I’m not trying to justify atheism so much as offer arguments why it seem to me that No God is the most reasonable point of view.

Besides, how could I possibly justify something I readily admit may well be beyond the minds of mere mortals. In that context, we are all agnostics.

Still, it is certainly more incumbent upon those who claim something does exist to demonstrate its existence than for those who claim it does not exist to demonstrate it does not.

Logic and God. Yes, we can try to grapple with a logical definition of God. But for some that is like grappling to come up with a logical definintion of Nirvana or Karma…or Fate or Destiny…or Justice or Freedom.

Or, for others still, a Unicorn.

Easy; talk about ourselves in regards to gods and morality.

There is a difference between knowing what we are talking about and thinking that we know what we are talking about. It’s the difference between being omniscient [like God] and merely having a point of view [like mere mortals].

So what?
We can discuss our humanity in relation to the divinity any and every day.
And at the end of it; it’s our choice as to what the end result is up and until some other force of reality beyond our choice shows to us that our collective conjectures are mistaken about the relationship between man and the divinities of man.

This isn’t science.
This is religion.
Empirical fact was tossed into the garbage upon entering the parking lot.

But that does not obviate the distinction I raised above. We can talk about anything. But that is not the same thing as demonstrating that what we think we know about these things reflects the most rational manner in which these things can be talked about.