I had been meaning to post this earlier, but I got caught up in responding to comments made by "anonymous" on this blog. Now that that is done, time to move on.
In this blog post, I will show that Wintery Knight's attempt to answer the problem of evil fails, and that in fact, he shows us that if the Christian god exists, then he is egotistical and sadistic. Once again, the Wintery Knight has written a post in which his lack of thinking skills "hurts my brain." Ouch!! Let me illustrate. This is the conclusion he drew from a paper on the problem of evil:
What the atheist has to show is that God could have prevented some instance of evil that appears to be pointless without losing any overall goodness. I.e. - the atheist has to show how a dentist can fill a cavity without using a drill, (or even using air abrasion). That's the burden of proof on the atheist, and Alston claims that the atheist is not in a position to know that. It's not enough to say "I don't see why dentists would have to resort to letting me suffer". The atheist has to prove that there is a way to make the cavity go away without ANY suffering. He has to show that you can get the same good result without losing the good that allowing the suffering achieved.
Remember that on the Christian view, the good aim that God has is NOT to make humans have happy feelings in this life, regardless of their knowledge, wisdom and character. That's what atheists think, though. They think that God, if he exists, is obligated to make them feel happy all the time and not to be actively involved in forming their knowledge, wisdom and character without harming their free will. God has a purpose - to work in the world so that everyone who can freely respond to him will respond to him. The Bible says that allowing pain and suffering is one of the ways that he gets that group of people who are willing to respond to respond to him - FREELY. Who is the atheist to question whether God could get all the people who will respond to him to respond with less suffering? How would the atheist know that?
But as I said before, atheist confuse the purpose of life. They think that the purpose of life is to have happy feelings, and they wonder "how could allowing me to suffer create MORE happy feelings?" And that's where the problem arises. They can't get past the idea that God has a right to form their character, to put them through certain experiences, and to place humans in times and places where he can orchestrate a world that meets his needs, not our needs.
Wintery Knight's argument does not even get off the ground, because first he must prove a god exists before anyone could show that god could prevent any evil. Remember, the onus is on the one making the claim to prove that claim. It is only when he can show his all-good, all-knowing, and all-powerful god exists that he can say atheists must show that God "could have prevented some instance of evil that appears to be pointless without losing any overall goodness." What an atheist has to show in this case however, is that the type of god Christians claims exists, i.e. an all-powerful, all good, all knowing god, is inconsistent with a world of suffering--THIS is the problem of evil. If Yahweh is all powerful, and all knowing he could accomplish any of his tasks without the need for suffering--or he would not be all powerful and all knowing. If he was all good, he would want to create a world without any pain and suffering, since it would be within his power and knowledge to do so. But clearly we have pain and suffering. Therefore, Yahweh is not all knowing, all good, or all powerful.
Wintery Knight's analogy in this case does not rid us of the problem of evil--in fact it supports the problem of evil! Of course, the dentists cannot do their jobs without some pain and suffering, because they are not all good, all knowing and all powerful--they do not have the power and knowledge to do their jobs without some pain and suffering. Now it could be the case that there is no other way to do it given the way our world is, that is, according to the laws of nature. But then, that just goes to show that the dentist is not all powerful--that he is subject to the laws of nature. Likewise, it would also be the case then, that if Yahweh could not create a world without suffering because it is not possible to do so, then he is not all knowing and not all powerful--as there is something he cannot do. Note, some religions, such as Taoism claim that the Tao came before the universe and gods/goddesses. Thus, it makes sense in this case that any such gods and goddesses are not subject to the problem of evil, as the universe and the laws of nature were not created by them, and so, it follows that there may be things that they cannot do given the nature of the universe. However, the Christian god is claimed to have created everything, and therefore, as the bible tells us, is responsible for it all, as it states in Proverbs 16:33 and various other places that "...EVERY decision is from the Lord." Given this scenario, the Christians claimed he created the universe and the laws of nature. Thus, if he were all knowing and all powerful, then he could have created a universe without pain and suffering, and still have satisfied his needs--but he chose not to. This makes the best explanation for Yahweh is that he is egotistical and sadistic, or he did not create the universe and the laws of nature, and he is not all powerful, or all knowing.
The Christians face another dilemma. According to the Christian eschatological view, our pain and suffering is the result of the sin committed by Adam and Eve. But could not Yahweh have created a world where Adam and Eve were free, and chose not to sin? If he could have created such a world and chose not to, then the best explanation for our pain and suffering is that Yahweh is an egotistical sadist. Since Yahweh is said to have created heaven without pain and suffering, but not our world, this further illustrates that Yahweh is an egotistical sadist. If Yahweh created a heaven where people are happy and "sinless,"Yahweh could have also created earth in the same manner--but chose to have his children be inflicted by pain and suffering instead. Surely--the actions of an egotistical and sadistic god. Christian apologists have been asked, "How can we be free in heaven and not sin?" Their answer has been that man does retain his free will in heaven, but loses the capacity to sin. How does this work? We are told by the Christian apologists that the Christian god gives humans a new "godly nature" when they become "saved." They are indwelt with the Holy Spirit and given a new nature. 2 Peter 1:4 states "For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature." So, we see that those who are saved are given a nature that is radically different than the fallen nature that is said to be inherited from Adam and Eve. This claim is based on Augustine's conception of original sin. Supposedly, this new nature is godly, agreeing with all the precepts and laws of God, and since they completely obey all God's laws, they would be sinless, as Jesus was said to be without sin, and therefore, he was perfect. (2 Cor. 3:21;Matt 5:17) Now, for our purposes, and with reference to the problem of evil, the most significant point is that this "nature" that is given to humans by god means that they will not sin, but yet, they are still considered to be "free." This hammers home the point that Yahweh could have created us in such a way that we were free, and yet never sinned in the first place--thus, avoiding pain and suffering. He could have created us with a "godly" nature in the first place, but obviously, according to Christians and the bible, he chose not to. Again, the best explanation for this, is that if Yahweh existed as depicted by Christians and the bible, then he is a egotistical and sadistic god because, as Wintery Knight tells us, Yahweh chose to make this world to satisfy HIS needs. He NEEDS to experience the pain and suffering of his children to satisfy some needs that he has. What needs could these be, other than sadistic needs, given the fact he could have created a world without pain and suffering, one in which love and respect is absolute?? All the pain and suffering could have been avoided if Yahweh had created a world in which humans had a godly nature, and thus had free will and no sin in the first place. Truly--a sadistic god.
Now, Christians might claim that if we do not experience pain and suffering, then we would have no knowledge of "good." The first point is that if this was the case, then Yahweh would not be all-knowing and all-powerful, as clearly he could have created us with a godly nature, and the knowledge of good, without having to experience pain and suffering, as this would be something he could not do. Thus, how is it that god knows the difference between good and evil, when according to Christians, he has this knowledge, but has not sinned? How did Yahweh have the knowledge of pain and suffering before the "Fall of Man"? He would have had no experience of pain and suffering, but yet, he knew what it was, and since he is said to be the creator of all things, he created pain and suffering. Thus, he could have created us with a godly nature, and knowledge of pain and suffering and good and evil, without having to have us experience it.
Wintery Knight goes on to say that "...allowing pain and suffering is one of the ways that he (Yahweh) gets that group of people who are willing to respond to respond to him - FREELY." According to Wintery Knight, people will respond FREELY to Yahweh when inflicted with pain and suffering--this is despicable. The use of pain and suffering in order to make someone "respond" to you is a form a coercion. (Just as the Christians did to the so-called witches" when they tortured them for crimes they had not committed until they FREELY "confessed") As I have shown above, Yahweh could have created a world where people respond to him as a result of their "godly nature." Instead, Yahweh could have created a world in which there would be no need for any coercion of any type--but he CHOSE to use pain and suffering in order to FREELY(?) ALLOW(?) us to respond to him--these, dear Wintery Knight, are the manipulations and actions of an egotistical sadist. Even if Yahweh had not made us with this "godly nature," your god could choose to whisper in our ears, or give us any number of signs--but no, he chose pain and suffering. How bizarre. Not only is it bizarre, but it is contradictory for a so-called "all-loving god" to manipulate his "children" this way. If he were an earthly father who was abusing and torturing his children in order to bring them "closer" to him--he would be put him in jail. As mentioned in an earlierpost, Christians seem to believe that pain and suffering go hand in hand with love--which had lead to untold amounts of abuse at the hands of people that "love" us. Again--how bizarre, and sad at the same time.
Finally he says that, "...God has a right to form their character, to put them through certain experiences, and to place humans in times and places where he can orchestrate a world that meets his needs, not our needs." What right does Yahweh have to inflict, as I have shown above, unnecessary pain and suffering on humans, because he is god? Is Wintery Knight suggesting that "might makes right"?? Is it the case that something is right because god says it is right, or is it right because it IS right? The Divine Command theory in ethics states that whatever god says is right is right--in this case the Christian god Yahweh-- which would mean the slaughter of innocent children, pregnant women and their unborn fetuses would be considered right. If this is the case then, there is no standard for good, as murder would be considered "good." Therefore, true objective morality cannot come from such a god. However, there is a positive reason to suppose that moral notions, even if brought into existence by God, apply independently from God's judgement once they exist. As such, Wintery Knight's claim that Yahweh has a right to form our character by any means necessary would be wrong, as Yahweh would also be subject to the same standards of right and wrong that we are. Otherwise, it would be the case that Yahweh brings moral facts into existence by his judgement. What this amounts to is, is that Yahweh has judged of himself that he is good. Christians however, want to say that it is Yahweh himself that is good--and not that he is good by his own self-judgement. For if it is just a mere self-judgement, Yahweh could be just like the entity that Christians claim is evil-- one whose goal is to create pain and suffering. This entity who is evil and creates this pain and suffering does not become good by a "self-pronouncement" or because someone like Wintery Knight claims this entity has a right to cause pain and suffering. To avoid this absurdity, we need to reject the claim that Yahweh has a right to do whatever he pleases, and that whatever he pleases becomes right. No, there is no such right that makes causing unnecessary pain and suffering "good" by mere self-pronouncement by an egotistical and sadistic god! Yahweh cannot avoid the problem of evil by mere "self-pronouncement"!!!
Wintery Knight says Yahweh "orchestrates a world that meets his needs." Yes, ACCORDING TO WINTERY KNIGHT, YAHWEH NEEDS TO HAVE LITTLE CHILDREN RAPED AND MURDERED. HE NEEDS TO HAVE WOMEN BEATEN TO DEATH BY THEIR HUSBANDS, ETC. Again, those are not the actions of a loving god, but the actions of an egotistical sadistic god. I have shown above that the atheist has no need to prove that there is a way to, as Wintery Knight says, "prove that there is a way to make the cavity go away without ANY suffering." For as I have shown above, this is the case according to Christians and the Bible--Yahweh could have choose to make the cavity go away without any suffering--but chose not to. Yahweh could have prevented every instance of evil, pain and suffering without losing any overall goodness. Otherwise Yahweh is not all knowing, all powerful, or all good!