Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


ARGUMENT: "WE HAVE NO ANSWER TO THE PROBLEM OF EVIL, TO HOW A LOVING GOD LETS THERE BE SO MUCH INNOCENT SUFFERING AND EVIL, BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN THERE ISN'T ONE!"

In all of life, possibilities do not count and only probabilities do. We should follow the probable and if we get it wrong at least our mindset is right. So the argument above gives us a new problem of evil - it makes out that possibilities are great when they are not.

The doctrine that evil is a mystery says there is an inscrutable good reason why it happens. To say one is to say the other. This can mean either that human cognition cannot see why it happens or there is not enough information. It cannot be both.

To say the reason for evil and suffering is cognitively closed us from us is to say you cannot see how it could be good but it is. To say it is informationally closed off is to say you can think of possible reasons but don't know what they are.

If both risk condoning evil the first one risks it the most. It is seeing no good principles at work behind evil and refusing to care. Nothing can be called good unless it expresses principles adequately. A doctrine that fails to do that is dross. Principles are so important that blind faith cannot be allowed to ignore them and such faith will not be satisfying or inspiring.

A God, Bible or faith saying there is no answer given for God allowing evil and unimaginable suffering to happen means, “Don’t look for one”. It turns faith into dogmatism and obscurantism. It is cold non-answer.

When no answer to why God might allow evil to happen works, you need independent evidence that there is an answer though you do not know what it is. You cannot just assume there is an answer. It is too serious for that and we have a duty to seek evidence. To say it is all because of God's inscrutable ways then nothing stands out as evidence for God's love or existence and we are just in the same state as one would be if there were no evidence or reason for belief in God. Evidence is made unimportant and what is given as evidence boils down to being mere assumption not evidence. That is evil for respect for evidence is good and moral and the matter is too serious to be treated as if it is something you can make assumptions over.

People argue that God’s mind is so immensely great that we cannot say he is wrong to allow so much suffering. That is only a guess for God's mind should be great enough to ensure that there is not too much mystery about evil. And there is too much mystery. If you have too much evil to excuse and have to excuse massive evils then there is something wrong. You don't want to be like somebody whose child is stealing from them and when the cash goes missing they tell themselves it is because the mice must have taken it though this happens ten times in the year. The god mystery stuff calls for far bigger and more frequent mystery than that.

The mysterious purpose argument is not fit to be called an argument. It is suspiciously needed too much. It is needed to excuse every countless baby’s terrible suffering. It is needed to excuse the incalculable bad influences created by God. It is needed to excuse the errors and immorality that smear every chapter in the Bible.

The mystery is only an excuse for believing even if the evidence disproves God and if no excuse for God letting evil happen works. It is just believers doing whatever it takes to exonerate God from his cruelty. No loving God would have man with his uncaring side and neglect of suffering people exonerating him like that. Man's motives are too suspect. And who says that God really complicates things that much? He might use a policy of keeping things simple. It is just an excuse. Even if it need not be, man could intend it to be an excuse.

A guess with something so serious is flippant and therefore itself evil.

FINALLY

A possibility does not count. Only probability does. If there is no answer found then the wisest and safest bet is to say there is none. And even more so in this case for suffering and evil are such terrible universal things.

The doctrine that suffering is a mystery does NOT entitle you to say it is. And if suffering is a mystery then the bigger the suffering anybody faces the bigger the mystery. It is evil to talk as if suffering is a mystery as if all suffering is on the same level. It tends to mask the true picture and the true horror. In fact if you have to choose a mystery it should be how terrible and intolerable evil is and there is no excuse for anyone never mind God for letting it happen and especially when letting is not the right word. God is in perfect control - as creator everything happens because of him and literally speaking he cannot be ever thwarted or defied - so there is no real letting. Not knowing why a god might tolerate evil does not entitle you to assume or believe evil is in anyway way tolerable.

Some religionists would do anything in desperation to protect their God hypothesis. They refuse to be shocked enough at any evil to admit that it disproves the goodness of God. And we wonder how Christianity then makes so many callous monsters eg Pope Innocent III, Martin Luther, St Dominic and Fr Maciel.

The "God works in mysterious ways" excuse is used to deny that God might not be listening or might not care. The mysterious ways argument is the believers only hope of saying that suffering does not show God is fiction. However it means that God might not be listening to the cries of the suffering. Maybe it is you who does not care and not just God! Maybe you have no heart and so God then is not the only thing that does not exist.


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THE WEB

www.colorado.edu/philosophy/wes/Tooley2.html
THE ARGUMENT FROM EVIL AND THE EXISTENCE OF GOD by Michael Tooley

http://www.nd.edu/~rpotter/courses/finitism.htm
FINITISM AND THE PROBLEM OF EVIL, R Dennis Potter,

www.ffrf.org/fttoday/august97/barker.html
THE FREE WILL ARGUMENT FOR THE NON-EXISTENCE OF GOD by Dan Barker