But Don’t Lose Faith, God Has His Reasons

by Luke Muehlhauser on January 16, 2010 in Problem of Evil,Video

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Kutuzov January 16, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Her last words just broke my heart

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Beelzebub January 17, 2010 at 3:03 am

Who knew that God was such a stickler for building codes, tsunami early warning systems, cancer screenings, and so on…

Please God, don’t kill any more of us, we’re moving as fast as we can.

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AlexG January 17, 2010 at 9:16 am

The problem is, if Christianity is true he DOES have his reasons. So this kind of thing is unlikely to persuade anyone beginning from that kind of framework, no matter how horrible it is.

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majinrevan666 January 17, 2010 at 10:41 am

So much for the enchanted naturalist view I suppose.

Speaking of hope, what consolation can possibly be offered
when these tragedies take place from a naturalistic perspective?

What can possibly be said aside from “shit happens”?

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lukeprog January 17, 2010 at 12:36 pm

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Dan January 17, 2010 at 12:59 pm

majinrevan666: So much for the enchanted naturalist view I suppose.Speaking of hope, what consolation can possibly be offered
when these tragedies take place from a naturalistic perspective?What can possibly be said aside from “shit happens”?  

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There is more consolation in the face of incredible tragedy and atrocity in a metaphysically naturalistic philosophy than could be purchased with the addition of anything extra-mundane.

Just one example can be furnished in the works of Spinoza, particularly his magnum opus, Ethics, and especially chapter 4 and 5 of the said work.

http://www.earlymoderntexts.com/pdfbig/spinoza.pdf

Understanding things sub specie aeternitatis, the blinding veil of tears, hope, faith, and ignorance fall from our eyes like manacles, and we realize that we have had in us all along the strength and understanding to persevere and be free (or, as Spinoza puts it, blessed). A naturalist may understand that sadness is a form of pain caused by ignorance, the only remedy of which is knowledge; the only object of knowledge is, and can only be, nature.

“So much for the naturalist view”?

What consolation can superstition possibly give? Such a suggestion is as absurd as believing that one can absolve themselves of bankruptcy by tendering counterfeit bills.

As Spinoza says in the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670):

“[Whatever] is contrary to Nature is contrary to reason, and whatever is contrary to reason is absurd, and should therefore be rejected. [...] [We] see that it is particularly those who greedily covet fortune’s favors, who are the readiest victims of superstition of every kind, and it is especially when they are helpless in danger that they all implore God’s help with prayers and womanish tears.”

Of course, when it comes to death, I submit you to the thoughts of Epicurus for a view that is more consoling than any supernatural one could be.

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Lorkas January 17, 2010 at 7:29 pm

majinrevan666: Speaking of hope, what consolation can possibly be offered
when these tragedies take place from a naturalistic perspective?What can possibly be said aside from “shit happens”?  

How about, “At least no one planned this disaster.” What a shitty universe to live in if the person in charge has foreknowledge of terrible “natural” disasters which he has the full power to prevent, but he chooses to let them happen anyway. What would you think of a hypothetical scientist who predicted the earthquake with perfect accuracy, had the technology to stop the earthquake, and chose not to stop it or even warn anyone? What would you think of a scientist who actually planned the earthquake in Haiti?

How can we possibly improve conditions for ourselves if the all-powerful creator of the universe wants us to suffer in this way? It’s reassuring to me to know that the earthquake has natural causes that are predictable when we know enough about the situation, which gives us hope that we can prevent such tragedies in the future. We would have no such hope if we were working against the will of an all-powerful being (especially one who, it is said, is planning to end the world horrifically without warning at some undefined point in the future).

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Ajay January 17, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Well…. the Hindu way of thinking on this is that she was a blood sucking monster in her previous birth and therefore in this life she is punished by this method of pain and death. In the next life she will take birth and enjoy a nice life as she has already been punished.

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ayer January 18, 2010 at 8:10 am

majinrevan666: Speaking of hope, what consolation can possibly be offered
when these tragedies take place from a naturalistic perspective?

Excellent point; on Christianity, this girl’s family has the hope of reuniting with her in heaven; on atheism, all hope is crushed; this is the end. A debate about which view offers more hope is not one in which atheism would fare well.

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majinrevan666 January 18, 2010 at 8:32 am

lukeprog: majinrevan666,See Do Atheist Have Less Purpose and Hope?  

I have.

You say that as a naturalist, you have LESS hope than a theist does, but your hope, unlike theirs is contingent upon reasonable expectations.
The validly of your world view being presupposed aside, that really doesn’t address the issues with naturalism.

For one thing, your “hope” won’t bring any consolation to a grieving family.
After all, your “hope” does and can not apply to their lost relative.
You also cannot hope to set things right because that ship sailed when the first sentient creature died before its time.

You can only help those who are already living, of which many die each day.
Not to mention the ones who are never born, because, remember, on naturalism, your genesis was merely by chance.
Your creation was not only objectively meaningless, it involved the annihilation of many of your potential kin.

In conclusion then, even the eternal doctrine of hell probably leaves more room for hope then naturalism does.
At least there there’s still the hope of saving the ones condemned to that fate.

Lorkas and Dan,
What value could possibly be had by embracing reason in a universe in which you are only an accidental by product of a meaningless universe whose unlucky creations may or may not live in perpetual suffering and perish depending on mere circumstance?
The fact that such tragedies could be prevented more often if we understand nature better tells me nothing about the fate of those who have already been the unfortunate victims of such things.

If a benevolent god does exist, then there are good reasons for the world being as it is.
In fact, there are countless scenarios that could be envisioned if an afterlife is proposed in which the afflictions suffered by anyone would have been well worth it.
There are even good reasons for believing that this is the case wholly apart for arguments for a benevolent deity.

Do note that I am not making an argument from consequences.
I happen to take the truth of the matter very seriously.
If I thought the world was as you claim it is, I’d see no reason to wake up in the morning, much less engage in philosophical discussions.

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drj January 18, 2010 at 9:54 am

majinrevan666: If a benevolent god does exist, then there are good reasons for the world being as it is.

If a benevolent God exists, why should he be anything other than the supreme nihilist?

He should similarly puzzle over his own existence as we do ours – and how could he conclude that there is a good reason for it at all? How could he get in the morning, knowing that there isnt?

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drj January 18, 2010 at 10:16 am

While they may be no specific hope, in the naturalist worldview, for the possibility that a deceased loved one will experience pleasant brain-states in an afterlife – there certainly can still be hope for those left grieving. I do not see that as trivial or as something to be brushed aside.

We can hope that such an experience will draw family closer together, or that it give us a renewed sense of appreciation for those who still live, or that those living can find and appreciate how their loved one lived and follow (or not) in their footsteps, etc, etc. All very important, and I feel pretty sufficient to dispel accusations that naturalists must be hopeless in the face of death or that theism provides some necessary form of hope that is not possible under naturalism.

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lukeprog January 18, 2010 at 10:23 am

majinrevan666,

Let’s pretend religions didn’t exist, but people were always really depressed about their loved one’s dying. Then you realized that you could make everybody feel better about this by convincing people that when someone dies, she goes to a magical city in the sky where she gets to eat cake forever but never gets fat.

Would you do it?

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ayer January 18, 2010 at 10:44 am

lukeprog: majinrevan666,Let’s pretend religions didn’t exist, but people were always really depressed about their loved one’s dying. Then you realized that you could make everybody feel better about this by convincing people that when someone dies, she goes to a magical city in the sky where she gets to eat cake forever but never gets fat.Would you do it?  

That’s a red herring, since it presupposes the falsity of the alternatives to naturalism. The point is that IF naturalism is true, there is no hope for that girl, or for her family to be reunited with her. IF Christianity is true, there is such hope. If naturalists are intellectually honest, they will own that hopelessness.

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majinrevan666 January 18, 2010 at 11:21 am

drj:
If a benevolent God exists, why should he be anything other than the supreme nihilist?
He should similarly puzzle over his own existence as we do ours – and how could he conclude that there is a good reason for it at all?How could he get in the morning, knowing that there isnt?  

I’m not suggesting that lacking a raison detre should lead a naturalist to hopelessness, I’m suggesting that the positive beliefs about the universe in naturalism should lead one to understand how futile everything is.

Furthermore, god is supposed to contain the reason for his existence in himself, so I don’t think that criticism
works anyway, intriguing though it may be.

drj: While they may be no specific hope, in the naturalist worldview, for the possibility that a deceased loved one will experience pleasant brain-states in an afterlife – there certainly can still be hope for those left grieving.I do not see that as trivial or as something to be brushed aside.We can hope that such an experience will draw family closer together, or that it give us a renewed sense of appreciation for those who still live, or that those living can find and appreciate how their loved one lived and follow (or not) in their footsteps, etc, etc.All very important, and I feel pretty sufficient to dispel accusations that naturalists must be hopeless in the face of death or that theism provides some necessary form of hope that is not possible undernaturalism.  

The question here is whether the kind of hope you speak of is enough to negate utter despair.
It is not.

Your renewed appreciation for life, that Darwinian mechanism of coping, should lead to further grief being as you’d believe that the deceased would never come to experience life.

I will say this though, if and only if naturalism entailed only what is described in the first paragraphs of B.Russel’s free man’s worship, then his following paragraphs might be justified.

However, naturalism entails much, much more including but not limited to: Billions to the power of who knows what number not ever being born, people dying before they’ve had a chance to exist aka abortions, people dying shortly after they’ve come into being by diverse means including infanticide by their own parents, people slowly dying from diverse diseases in childhood or thereafter etc.

Even accepting all you said though, theism would still contain much more hope than naturalism given the immortality of the soul.
All that follows from what you wrote is that naturalism is not THAT devastatingly awful.

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Lee A. P. January 18, 2010 at 11:26 am

ayer: Excellent point; on Christianity, this girl’s family has the hope of reuniting with her in heaven; on atheism, all hope is crushed; this is the end. A debate about which view offers more hope is not one in which atheism would fare well.  (Quote)

While they watch other loved ones being mercilessly tormented for enterity from thier heavenly perch.

In Christianity, the most amount of suffering imaginable exists.

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lukeprog January 18, 2010 at 11:27 am

ayer,

Isn’t that what I did in my post ‘Do Atheists Have Less Purpose and Hope’?

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drj January 18, 2010 at 11:29 am

ayer: IF Christianity is true, there is such hope. If naturalists are intellectually honest, they will own that hopelessness.  

If Islam is true, then I experience the hope of being greeted by 72 virgins in the afterlife.

If Mormonism is true, I experience the hope of knowing that I can be the god of my own planet some day.

Guess naturalism just can’t compete.

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majinrevan666 January 18, 2010 at 12:02 pm

lukeprog: majinrevan666,Let’s pretend religions didn’t exist, but people were always really depressed about their loved one’s dying. Then you realized that you could make everybody feel better about this by convincing people that when someone dies, she goes to a magical city in the sky where she gets to eat cake forever but never gets fat.Would you do it?  

I’m not arguing that we should go around lying to people to give their comfort.
I may or may not do as you say to make people feel better, that would be applied ethics I believe.
I probably would not for several reasons, although none of them could be justified on naturalism in my view.

Nevertheless, what I would do in such a situation is beside the point.
I’m not advocating that you stop preaching the naturalistic world view because it would make people feel better.
I’m merely saying that if it were true, it should immediately lead to “unyielding despair”.

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lukeprog January 18, 2010 at 12:12 pm

majinrevan666,

Can you explain why you think naturalism should lead to unyielding despair? For example, I am quite aware that I will not survive my death less than a century from now, but I don’t feel a twinge of despair over that.

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drj January 18, 2010 at 12:22 pm

The question here is whether the kind of hope you speak of is enough to negate utter despair.
It is not.

Why not? At least in my case, I am a naturalist, I have lost loved ones, and I am not wallowing in perpetual despair. I am living empirical proof that your thesis is false.

Am I irrational to not to wallow in utter dispair, because I lack one very specificy type of hope, out of a myraid of types of hope? I don’t think you’ve shown this to be the case.

Your renewed appreciation for life, that Darwinian mechanism of coping, should lead to further grief being as you’d believe that the deceased would never come to experience life.

No thank you. A renewed appreciation for life can lead me to rationally view my life and the lives of others as valuable. It can lead me to be thankful that I was able to share in the life of my deceased loved one. Wallowing in utter despair, to the detriment of my current life, and the lives of my living loved ones, would be irrational.

However, naturalism entails much, much more including but not limited to: Billions to the power of who knows what number not ever being born, people dying before they’ve had a chance to exist aka abortions, people dying shortly after they’ve come into being by diverse means including infanticide by their own parents, people slowly dying from diverse diseases in childhood or thereafter etc.

Even accepting all you said though, theism would still contain much more hope than naturalism given the immortality of the soul.
All that follows from what you wrote is that naturalism is not THAT devastatingly awful.

I disagree – I love my life, and I’m a naturalist. Yes, there is lots of suffering in the world. So much so, that its really incomprehensible to me. Yet, I have a reasonable hope that its possible to improve the situation. That sure feels sufficient to me, to feel quite positively about existence.

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majinrevan666 January 18, 2010 at 12:36 pm

lukeprog: majinrevan666,Can you explain why you think naturalism should lead to unyielding despair? For example, I am quite aware that I will not survive my death less than a century from now, but I don’t feel a twinge of despair over that.  

Well, obviously that girl did feel a twinge of despair over dying, so I suppose my answer would be empathy.
That and what I’ve already said about those who would never come to experience life in the first place.

If you’re not convinced, could you tell me what would cause you to feel a twinge of despair?

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Pete January 18, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Furthermore, god is supposed to contain the reason for his existence in himself, so I don’t think that criticism
works anyway, intriguing though it may be.

What does this even mean: “to contain the reason for his existence in himself”??? Reasons have to be something external, otherwise you could justify EVERYTHING this way.

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majinrevan666 January 18, 2010 at 12:59 pm

drj:
Why not?At least in my case, I am a naturalist, I have lost loved ones, and I am not wallowing in perpetual despair.I am living empirical proof that your thesis is false.Am I irrational to not to wallow in utter dispair, because I lack one very specificy type of hope, out of a myraid of types of hope?I don’t think you’ve shown this to be the case.

I am sorry for your loss, but this is not the type of thing I’m talking about.
In so far as life has been lived somewhat fully, there’s little reason, relatively speaking, to despair over its loss.
My point pertains to those who wouldn’t have this luxury and those would have wanted to have that luxury, but couldn’t.

No thank you.A renewed appreciation for life can lead me to rationally view my life and the lives of others as valuable.It canlead me to be thankful that I was able to share in the life of my deceased loved one.Wallowing in utter despair, to the detriment of my current life, and the lives of my living loved ones, would be irrational.

I certainly do agree with that.
Like I said, the latter half of B.Russel’s Free Man’s Worship would be fine by me if the aforementioned
concerns weren’t in play.

I disagree – I love my life, and I’m a naturalist.Yes, there is lots of suffering in the world.So much so, that its really incomprehensible to me.Yet, I have a reasonable hope that its possible to improve the situation.That sure feels sufficient to me, to feel quite positively about existence.  

It doesn’t really matter how much the situation is improved.
The tragedies that have already occurred cannot be reversed.
The victims of the holocaust for instance wouldn’t benefit from such improvements.
Also, there still remains the problem of the unborn.

So, yes, improvements can be made, but they aren’t nearly enough to make one a relatively happy naturalist without at least suppressing certain facts.

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majinrevan666 January 18, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Pete:
What does this even mean: “to contain the reason for his existence in himself”??? Reasons have to be something external, otherwise you could justify EVERYTHING this way.  

It’s the difference between necessary and contingent beings.
The everything you speak of is (arguably) contingent, thus not containing within it the reason for its existence.

In any case, I’m not really familiar with the argument from contingency to give you a well thought out answer for what it means for something to have a reason for its existence in itself.
I’m rather perplexed by this myself.

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drj January 18, 2010 at 1:17 pm

majinrevan666: It doesn’t really matter how much the situation is improved.
The tragedies that have already occurred cannot be reversed.
The victims of the holocaust for instance wouldn’t benefit from such improvements.
Also, there still remains the problem of the unborn.
So, yes, improvements can be made, but they aren’t nearly enough to make one a relatively happy naturalist without at least suppressing certain facts.  

Ok, I think I got it. So its the fact that tragedies can never be undone that is supposed to cripple me with despair. Again, I just don’t see why that follows.

It seems to me, that it would be more rational to direct any despair I do feel, into a something productive – like preventing tragedy in the future. If it is at all rational to desire to reduce despair and suffering, surely wallowing in despair would be irrational – since it would add to the overall suffering and despair in the world.

And what problem of the unborn are you specifically referring too? Abortion? I hold to a pretty standard form of the personhood view. Pre-sentient fetuses dying -either from natural causes or from abortion – isnt really something I consider tragedy, though I would feel sympathy for expectant parents who felt loss over losing a wanted pregnancy.

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Pete January 18, 2010 at 1:36 pm

majinrevan666:
It’s the difference between necessary and contingent beings.

Again: you could define everything as “necessary”. It’s completely arbitrary. And frankly, does a tautology like “god exists, because he exists” really satisfy you?

The naive idea of a personal being simple fails to solve the problem – the big question it always pretends to answer: “Why?”
(Maybe because that’s simply impossible, see “Münchhausen Trilemma”)

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ayer January 18, 2010 at 1:55 pm

lukeprog: ayer,Isn’t that what I did in my post ‘Do Atheists Have Less Purpose and Hope’?  

Yes, it is the other commenters who seem to disagree with you and are unable to own it; but after all their resistance to your very basic criticism of Dawkins in the other thread I can’t say it surprises me.

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majinrevan666 January 18, 2010 at 2:24 pm

drj:
Ok, I think I got it.So its the fact that tragedies can never be undone that is supposed to cripple me with despair.Again, I just don’t see why that follows.
It seems to me, that it would be more rational to direct any despair I do feel, into a something productive – like preventing tragedy in the future.If it is at all rational to desire to reduce despair and suffering, surely wallowing in despair would be irrational – since it would add to the overall suffering and despair in the world.And what problem of the unborn are you specifically referring too?Abortion?I hold to a pretty standard form of the personhood view.Pre-sentient fetuses dying -either from natural causes or from abortion – isnt really something I consider tragedy, though I would feel sympathy for expectant parents who felt loss over losing a wanted pregnancy.  

It doesn’t logically follow if that’s what you mean.
Emotional responses can’t logically follow from “ises”.

But in case you don’t mean “follows” as in a logical sequence:

The impetuous to alleviate the suffering of others and unyielding despair aren’t mutually exclusive.
In fact, I think that this would be the only tenable way to live on a naturalist view.
If your despair does conflict with your ability to help others, then I suppose that it should be mitigated to such a degree as it is no longer an impediment.

I do maintain, however, that all things being equal, despair is the most honest attitude towards a universe such as the one which naturalism presents.

The unborn problem refers to all those who wouldn’t be born if naturalism is true.
Be it fetus, zygote, or any conceivable combination with the potential to result in a sentient being such as you and I.
I see no real difference between the tragedy a living creature swiftly being put to death at a relatively young age and a potential creature never being born.
The ones mourning the creature’s loss is the only significant difference I can think of.

Here’s Dawkins touching on that problem: (with a lot of ironic nonsense as a prelude)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3n92__5_fg&feature=SeriesPlayList&p=10230C4B600FF0B9

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Lorkas January 18, 2010 at 4:10 pm

ayer: If naturalists are intellectually honest, they will own that hopelessness.

I own the fact that I am without false hope. I can’t see how pretending that we have good reasons to suppose that we can be reunited with our loved ones after death is better than being grown up about the reality of death and accepting that the best we can do is to enjoy the time we have together, and try to prevent tragedies like this in the future.

I find it strange that no one has responded to my point that (on Christianity) there exists a being who 1) knew about the earthquake ahead of time, 2) could have prevented the earthquake, and 3) did not do so. I find the idea that God exists and has the properties traditionally attributed to him absolutely abhorrent in the face of tragedies like this.

How can anyone be of the opinion that such a god loves us, when he neglects the weak and the poor of Haiti so ruthlessly? When he neglects anyone so ruthlessly?

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ayer January 18, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Lorkas: I find it strange that no one has responded to my point that (on Christianity) there exists a being who 1) knew about the earthquake ahead of time, 2) could have prevented the earthquake, and 3) did not do so. I find the idea that God exists and has the properties traditionally attributed to him absolutely abhorrent in the face of tragedies like this.

And I find atheism’s notion that the families of those who died in the tragedy should have no hope of being reunited with them to be abhorrent.

I’m not sure why you want to again go over the well-trod ground of the debate about the problem of evil, but here is a good place for you to start:

http://www.bethinking.org/resources/the-problem-of-evil.htm

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SteveK January 18, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Hi Lorkas,

I find it strange that no one has responded to my point that (on Christianity) there exists a being who 1) knew about the earthquake ahead of time, 2) could have prevented the earthquake, and 3) did not do so. I find the idea that God exists and has the properties traditionally attributed to him absolutely abhorrent in the face of tragedies like this.

If you are a parent, you
1) knew about the certain death and suffering of your child ahead of time (though you don’t know the details of the suffering), 2) could have prevented the conception of the child thus preventing all of this, and 3) did not do so.

Abhorrent?

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Kutuzov January 18, 2010 at 6:33 pm

ayer: And I find atheism’s notion that the families of those who died in the tragedy should have no hope of being reunited with them to be abhorrent.

If wishful thinking brings comfort to the families of those who died, then more power to them. I find truth to be important, and – abhorrent as it may seem – more desirable than false comfort.

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Kutuzov January 18, 2010 at 6:36 pm

SteveK: If you are a parent, you
1) knew about the certain death and suffering of your child ahead of time (though you don’t know the details of the suffering), 2) could have prevented the conception of the child thus preventing all of this, and 3) did not do so.
Abhorrent?

not quite the same thing, given the “(though you don’t know the details of the suffering)” part, but otherwise:

yes.

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SteveK January 18, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Deciding to have a child is abhorrent because you know it’s going to die some day and suffer to some degree along the way? That’s crazy talk my friend. I hope you don’t abhor your parents for conceiving you. Do you?

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Kutuzov January 19, 2010 at 12:58 am

Of course not. But if I endured an unbearable life filled with endless pain and hardship, without love, and my parents were omniscient and able to avoid my conception… then yes, I definitely think it’s debatable that one would consider their actions abhorrent.

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SteveK January 19, 2010 at 3:44 pm

But if I endured an unbearable life filled with endless pain and hardship, without love, and my parents were omniscient and able to avoid my conception… then yes, I definitely think it’s debatable that one would consider their actions abhorrent.

By definition (according to Christianity, anyway) nobody has enured an unbearable life filled with endless pain and hardship, without love so I fail to see the connection here. If it were the case then you would have a point worth serious consideration. I’d likely agree with you.

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Kutuzov January 19, 2010 at 4:30 pm

yeah fair point.

I guess I had a slight problem with your initial analogy, as parents are not omniscient and cannot possibly know the extent to which their child could suffer, and can therefore not make such an informed decision. I know Peter Singer (and others) would certainly debate the ethics involved in choosing to conceive a child with foreknowledge of intensive and chronic suffering, and I’d probably agree with him.

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SteveK January 19, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Well, my analogy serves to show that our experience says (a) not all suffering and death are evil and (b) failing to prevent it when you know it will happen is not necessarily evil. Both can be evil, but they are not necessarily evil.

When Luke mockingly says “God has his reasons”, it’s not a slam dunk mockery of God because there exists the very real possibility that there are valid reasons for allowing death/suffering. I don’t like death/suffering myself, nor do I understand why it occurs a lot of the time, but that doesn’t stop me from trusting in the revealed character of God’s goodness.

So thank you Luke for the reminder – I won’t lose faith.

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Lorkas January 19, 2010 at 10:54 pm

SteveK,
Your analogy fails because the life of a person tends to be a mixed bag–sure, there is a lot of suffering, but there is usually a lot of love, kindness, joy, and beauty that someone experiences as well. Are you suggesting that this earthquake is a mixed bag as well? That, like being alive, most people would choose to go through it rather than not go through it? In fact, most people prefer life to non-life so much that they find the concept of abortion distasteful at best and abhorrent at worst, though your analogy suggests that you think that committing abortion (to prevent suffering) and preventing an earthquake (to prevent suffering) are equally moral actions, since a simple extension of your analogy equates the two.

Also, the parents can do things after the child is alive to minimize their suffering, like take them away from areas that are about to have devastating earthquakes if they happen to know about the earthquakes ahead of time.

This earthquake has a direct, proximal causal link to suffering, while being born is only connected in the sense that it’s the ultimate (distal, one might say) cause, not the proximal cause. In other words, suffering doesn’t follow directly from being born, it follows from other things that happen after you’re born (some of which are preventable by loving parents and all of which are preventable by loving, all-powerful deities, if there is such a thing).

A much more apt analogy would be something like 1) A knows that if he doesn’t press a button, then B will die, 2) A has the ability to press the button, and 3) A deliberately chooses not to press the button. Surely A is responsible for the death of B under these circumstances. He’s obviously not responsible if either 1, 2, or 3 are false.

It looks like God both knew that the earthquake would cause suffering, could have prevented it, and let it happen anyway, making God responsible for the consequences of the earthquake. The only thing that excuses God for allowing such a disaster is the fact that he doesn’t exist.

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Rhys Wilkins January 21, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Ayer says: “And I find atheism’s notion that the families of those who died in the tragedy should have no hope of being reunited with them to be abhorrent.”

Wow. Way to try and deflect there. Do you seriously think that 11 year old girl had to die because it was logically necessary for an adequately compensating good? Trust me, this situation will result in nothing but tears, agony and absolute misery for the family involved. The family will certainly undergo enough mental trauma and mind shattering grief to maybe….

I dunno….

Stop believing in God

Wow man! Go figure! first an all powerful, all-good God watches with folded arms as an innocent helpless child gets crushed to death, but no! The fun does not end there for omnibenevolent, meek, mild, kind caring compassionate Yahweh!

Next, because the family cries out in anger and disgust at God for doing nothing to save their child, he says ‘Go rot in Hell you original sin tainted scum! I am perfect, holy and the Just Judge of all things! But I love you!’

Seriously man…

Are you serious?

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Jesse December 8, 2011 at 7:27 am

its crazy how people are like to point fingers at God even when we don’t see the big picture, us humans are unique and stubborn. For many of us there’s a particular way of learning, such as it takes noise to appreciate silence, it takes absence to value presence, and it takes sadness to know happiness. So all in all in all we learn to see the beauty in the destruction. A lot of people ask God why he doesn’t do anything, but i wonder if he would ask us the same thing… Also God doesn’t cause disasters for us to look to him, Gods promises are like the stars, the darker the night the brighter they shine. So its in the dark times where we see his light, life just happens, and in all the struggles maybe we’re suppose to help each other out, you’re your brothers keeper. Disasters such as this isn’t suppose to bring us apart but to bring us together, stronger. So let us see the beauty in this destruction.

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