Re: Creationists
Thu, 25 Jun 1998 19:47:46 EDT

In a message dated 6/24/98 4:47:47 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

<< "For reasons that are beyond us"? My God commanded me to kill
and/or hate this person! Don't ask me why because the reasons are
beyond us! What a lame justification for all the evil done by the
many religions! >>

The point is simply that it is possible that such reasons could exist and
that, given a strong inclination to believe or actual belief in God, the
presence of evil does not provide a good reason to dispense with it because of
the possibility of these unknown reasons. Can anyone say, "There IS a reason
for this, really. I just don't know what."? Of course. But so what? That
doesn't make the argument unsound.

<< Ah, the old perverted blame evil on free will theodicy. Yeah,
free will makes a great scapegoat for God right!?? First off, placing
the blame on free will (free will in this view must be bad or
malevolent since it is the cause of evil), to me, is far worse than
thinking that God is actually malevolent or the cause of evil. To me,
free will is something good and glorious and when perfectly achieved
by all will finally eliminate all evil. Since evil is, by definition,
that which we don't want.>>

Oh? I think that there are moments when I've desired something that I would
otherwise think to be evil, e.g. the immediate and violent death of the driver
in front of me. So I reject your definition of evil as rendered. The fact
that evil isn't simply "what we don't want" undercuts the rest of your

<< ... And finally, the biggest reason this free will theodicy is so
perverse is because of the hate and intolerance that must go along
with it. Some people freely choose good. We are to love these
people. Some people freely choose evil. We are to hate and be
intolerant of these people (rather than try to be sympathetic of why
the particular evil choices might have been made and having a hope
that we might help). >>

The above simply has nothing to do with the issue at hand. Hate and
intolerance do not necessarily go along with the free will defense. But if
the unspoken religion you're criticizing here is Christianity, then I should
say that most Christian churches do preach and encourage unconditional love,
regardless of the individual's crimes. And, whether or not that is the
unspoken religion you're speaking of, it does not follow, necessarily, from
the fact that a person has chosen evil that a person ought to be hated. There
are numerous moral systems, compatible with theism, that argue against such a

<< To me, free will is not malevolent and is exactly compatible
with the non existence of evil. As long as there is evil, no one is
yet truly free. I will eternally have faith that such perfection is
possible and will eternally strive for such with unconditional love
for all.>>

It's a beautiful picture of free will, and a breathtaking painting of the
future, but I'm just not sure that it's accurate. Still, I have to admit that
it's quite appealing.

<< OK! My God is the Devil. Whatever evil he commands should be
done. Anyone that deviates from all such absolute decrees will burn
in hell for eternity! This is such a lame and devilish reason! Good
is good and bad is bad. Anything that is Good is Godly and anything
that is Bad is devilish. That is the only possible way to know the
difference. If this is not true, then there is nothing rational at
all and no way to know the difference.>>

Not at all. I probably just wasn't clear. If God is the source of all
ethical law, then what he decrees as good simply will be good, and to talk of
him decreeing evil as good is simply nonsensical. And if he is the source and
generator of such law, then it seems plausible that such laws are not
applicable to him. I'm not a big fan of the idea of "divine-command theory
ethics" either though.

<<> Now I certainly find many of those reasons as repugnant and
> implausible as you do.

Undoubtedly for some of the same reasons I've described.>>


<<> But they show that a reconciliation of God with evil does not
> NECESSARILY lead to either 1 or 2. And that was my point.

So, then, you think it is OK to hate devils and all their
worshipers, as long as we can still have faith in our God!? This is
only one of many many reasons why I just can't see how anyone can make
such points. Thinking like this just makes more evil, hate, and
despair. If we have true faith that all might be possible one way or
another we need not accept any of this evil and despair.>>

I think that you're assuming that any form of theism must be some particularly
pernicious form of fundamentalist Christianity. That simply isn't the case
though; there are lots of different types of theisms. And not all of them
involve hate or devils, but an ethic of unconditional love and eventual
paradise, or fulfillment, that you yourself seem to hold to, or strive for.

<< Yes, I can see your point. But accepting any such evil, for
whatever justification, is the lessor theory. The theory that a way
can be found to eliminate all such evil is the greater theory.>>

I simply disagree. Suppose that we found very good, very persuasive reasons
why we should allow for evil. And then suppose someone came along with
another theory, which provided a way to eliminate all such evil but in a way
that violated those very good reasons that are vital to the first theory. I
think that the first theory would to be preferred in such a case. Therefore
the theory that finds a way to eliminate all evil is not necessarily to be
preferred to a theory which allows for some evil.
An example would be the comparison of a theory that eliminates evil by, in one
great and last evil act, eliminating all life and all possibility of future
life against a theory that prescribes certain restraints on actions against
evil, because such actions would themselves be evil, but that by prescribing
such restraints also allows for the continued existence of evil.

<< I always hope that there might be some way
or another found to eliminate all evil and will eternally seek after

;) May God be with you on your quest then.

Seriously now, that's a very noble pursuit and hope, and, in the end, the best
attitude to take towards evil I think. Good luck!