Is God evil or flawed?

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by Rainfall, May 1, 2012.

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  1. Rainfall

    Rainfall Well-Known Member

    Ok, before you ask, I'm studying Buddhism.

    I believe in God, not the God that Abrahamic religions believe in, but a God. I believe in a God that isn't loving, that doesn't care about us. A tyrant God.

    One of the main reasons I believe this is Maccy's argument:

    The Bible/Torah/Koran says God is omipotent, omniscient, and benevolent (all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving). This means God knows about evil, has the power to stop evil, and wants to stop evil (as he would want to end our suffering).

    But evil exists.

    If God exists, it can't be an omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent God. But a God would be all-powerful, and know his/her s/he mustn't love us.

    I'm aware of the arguments against this:

    It can't be a test-s/he is all-knowing, so would already know the answer. And s/he wouldn't allow such suffering if s/he loved us.

    It can't be because if the devil, the Maccy argument would apply to the devil as well as evil. God is the all-powerful being, the devil should have no power.

    It can't be because of free-will. That's like a parent giving a child a chainsaw, with the idea that the child is free to make a living cutting down trees, or end up killing people.

    It can't be because of God's greater plan. S/he has the power to furfill his/her plan without suffering, since s/he's all-powerful, wants to do this, since s/he's all-loving, and knows how to do so, since s/he's all-knowing.

    So yeah...just some of my ideas. Do u agree? (and just incase u ask this question, I'm 16).
  2. Wastingecho

    Wastingecho Well-Known Member

    can good exist without evil? if so, how would we know what good is? from my point of view, we need to face all aspects of life in order to grow and find out what we truly are

    you say god doesn't love us - why? love doesn't always means making everyone happy or safe - sometimes as a parent i have had to do things that my children most definitely did not like - it wasn't to be cruel but to reinforce a lesson or keep them away from situations that they were not equipped to handle when they were younger - but sometimes i had to step back and let them take risks so that they could learn to handle some things on their own and discover responsibility

    sometimes, no matter what i do or how much i love them, they suffer - loss of a pet, bullies, broken hearts - does not mean i love them any less

    also, i don't think you're taking "free will" into account properly - a god that does not allow free will would only create unthinking puppets with no true purpose in life - responsible parents don't give a child a chainsaw, but a parent would give one to a teenager who has demonstrated a desire and skill in felling lumber - parents who DO give children chainsaws are the ones failing in the proper exercise of free will

    i think the biggest problem with your arguments is that you are determining that god wants the same things that YOU want - how would it be possible to comprehend an intellect that immense?

    look, i cannot follow any religion where someone clergyman tells me what god wants me to do without thinking - in my mind most religions grew out of pragmatism and politics first, spirituality second

    i don't necessarily believe in god myself, but feel that should he/she exist that there is on one true way to worship or believe but that any one individual or group should have the hubris to believe that god only speaks to or for them

    if you can find it, the song "God Thinks" by Voltaire sums up a lot of what i feel about modern religion - but be warned that it is easy to take offense at some of the lyrics if you take them out of context - you must listen to the entire thing first and consider the work as a whole

    also the first song in Godspell - i think it's called "Tower of Babble" - covers a number of different philosophical arguments - give that a try as well
  3. youRprecious!

    youRprecious! Antiquities Friend

    I suppose it all depends Rainfall, on what you think about the crucifixion of Christ - whether it actually happened or not in history, or whether it is just part of a fable.

    The date of our calendar is taken from Christ's life, and tradition has it that he has been the person who has had the most affect on humanity - because of the miracles he did while he was alive, and his rising from the dead, as is all detailed in Scripture.

    It's a huge topic to try to answer in little bits. But, if you believe that Christ has anything to do with God - then God knows, that despite his ability to wave "the magic wand" should he desire to (and him not choosing to wave it enough to keep us all from suffering somehow proves he isn't loving - this seems to be the reasoning) - he has self-restricted his omnipotence. Christians believe that Christ suffered like he did, on behalf of us all, in a mystical way.

    This also is a huge topic - why would he do that? It makes no sense.

    Many people leave off at this point and say it's nonsense or irrelevant.

    Gosh, I read something this morning that I think is relevant to your thread - I'm very tempted to post it. It starts "Though God is an almighty lover, he can find himself shut out,......" if you'd like me to carry on, just say so :)
  4. Rainfall

    Rainfall Well-Known Member

    Wastingecho- Would a parent push so many if their children to the point of suicide, of war, of discrimination? No parent should ever think such a thing. And if everyone was good, did no more evil, we wouldn't need to know what good is. We'll just know what to do.

    And interesting song...listen to 'A letter from God to Man' too

    UrPrecious- I run by Buddhist calendar (happy year 2555 :D), and I don't believe that Jesus was resurrected in my beliefs, as stated in the bible. And I would love to read that piece (sorry if the last version of this felt cold)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2012
  5. Terry

    Terry Antiquities Friend Staff Alumni

    Well, I think the other posters have pretty much covered what I was going to say.

    Would just iterate that free will means exactly that.
    Evil exists because we all are capable of evil, just as we are all capable of goodness.

    Try standing somewhere that is awe inspiring.
    Not sure where you live, but here in Britain there are two places where I have stood and felt the immensity of the universe.
    I felt like an ant and yet one with it all at the same time, it was a moment where I felt God in everything including me.

    ps: please be careful not to tread on others beliefs as we will try not to trample on yours.
    your answer to Urprecious came across a tad uncaring of his/her beliefs.
  6. Rainfall

    Rainfall Well-Known Member

    Terry- I have stood somewhere like that. I went to the top of a mountain called Skidaw once. I didn't feel a revelation though.

    And sorry if it sounded like that, I didn't mean it. I guess when you're living in a community that shuns you for not being 'normal' (I get bullied by both athiests and christians here) you pick up some bad habits. I'll correct the post.
  7. FrainBart

    FrainBart Staff Alumni

    Going by what little I remember from RE classes... (seeing as its nearly a decade ago I am doubting my memory) But the reason for God to not intervene is for our sins. However I dont really believe in a God, I never really had much faith but lost what little faith I did have years ago.

    Your queries are the ones I have. How can a God exist if he permits evil to exist, however if he is all powerful all knowing and all loving, then could one not say that as all loving he accepts everyone as they are wether they are evil. and How can anyone simply define evil?
    Also could someone not say that we are in purgatory already? Are we in this life for the sins we commited in a previous life that we are unknowing of?

    I however have a question. How can we be sure that we are living on the planet that he created (if he does exist,) and not purgatory where we are simply awaiting approval to enter some divine land (eg Heaven) and death is just our purification of some sort?

    If this indeed the earth that God created, then surely he can not exist for permitting evil, or if he does exist why does he not stop the pain and suffering. But also he may be all knowing, etc etc.. but it does not specify anywhere that he has the ability to solve all the worlds woes.
  8. Rainfall

    Rainfall Well-Known Member

    personunknown- I guess it's down to belief whether we're in purgatory or not
  9. sadangel

    sadangel Active Member

    I am a true believer in God and in the God that Abraham and Issac believed in. I am a new believer and I know with my whole heart that I am still a sinner. God doesn't expect us to be perfect or to not make mistakes. Even us Christians aren't immune to evil. I understand where you are coming from I came from there. If you believe that God doesn't love us because he allows us to suffer from depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, Borderline personality and the list goes on then you are missing the point. I suffer and have suffered with these illnesses for 16 years (I am 27). I believe the reason we are allowed to suffer is so that we can use these to sufferings to help others or understand others when the "normal" people can't. I am not better and still will cycle and have days where I don't want to get up in the morning but that is all part of me and my story. I could go into my testimony but I am sure you don't want to hear that. You are young yet and you will develop the person you become. Here's my question even if I am wrong to believe in God, what harm have I done to myself and if I am right then I am going to be happy in heaven. I am thankful for my suffering because without it I couldn't help others and understand their pain.
  10. Neoprimitive

    Neoprimitive Member

    Self restricted omnipotent, reminds me of the bit from Epicurious(paraphrased)

    If god is able but doesn't want to he is evil, and if it wants to and is unable his impotent.
  11. Neoprimitive

    Neoprimitive Member

    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2012
  12. Raven

    Raven Guest

    Hitchens always put it best, I think he says best one of my major issues with the idea of God. We all have the right to live our lives the best we can, as long as our actions do not harm others then really I have the right to think what I wish, I have and will always think that the very idea of God is horrific at best.

    I have one saying about the Christian religion, never would I set foot in the halls of heaven while one man burned in the pits of hell, no God that would do this is moral, no man deservers such a fate, no being no matter how evil, destitute deserves such a fate.
  13. Terry

    Terry Antiquities Friend Staff Alumni

    Well to quote my old parish priest when I asked if there was a hell, he replied "yes of course there is, but you don't think anyone is down there do you?" :laugh:
  14. Raven

    Raven Guest

    In heaven there is no beer.
    That's why we drink it here (Right Here!)
    When we're gone from here,
    all our friends will be drinking all our beer!

  15. D1979

    D1979 Active Member

    This is a really interesting topic. I really have had questions about God during these past couple of years, in which I have experienced nothing but pain and suffering. I have had things happen to me during these past couple of years that have caused me not to want to live anymore. If there was a God, how could He allow this unbelievable pain and suffering to happen to me. I don't ask for a lot and if I just had 1 thing in my life go right, then my life would completely turn around for the better. Yet it seems that God cannot give me this one thing to turn my life around. And this issue is a permanent medical issue with my body so it's not something that I have the ability to really change. If God could give me this one thing back, it would completely turn my life around for the better, but He just can't seem to do it.
    A lot of people say that we all have a destiny in life, yet I find it very hard to believe this. Or maybe I believe that some people have shitty destinies that they don't want, yet others have great lives that they truly want to live. It seems that the people who have strong faith in destinies are the ones who are living the best lives. I recently heard Bill O'Reilly talk about how he believes that we all have destinies, yet he's living a great life, making millions of dollars, and loves to do what he does. Yet I've never heard a homeless, destitute person say that it was their destiny to be homeless or destitute? I've never heard a paralyzed person say that it was their destiny to be paralyzed and unable to enjoy the things that millions of others enjoy. I've seen many people senselessly murdered, whether they were murdered in the attacks on 9/11 or the Holocaust or in African civil wars. Was it their destiny in life to be senselessly murdered? I've seen people die of leukemia when they were 19 years old? Was it their destiny to die at such a young age through no fault of their own?
    Also, I believe that when you talk about religion, you have to talk about justice. One would think that according to religion, the people that pray to God the most would have the best luck and fortune in life, yet this is truly not the case. You have plenty of people out there who abuse drugs, cause great harm to others, and never pray at all, yet they have great, great lives. Yet there are also plenty of people who are good, honest, decent people whose lives are ruined by shit that happens to them beyond their control. This makes absolutely no sense to me and I've never heard of any religion come up with a valid reason for why this happens all the time.
    I really wish that it was 5 years ago, when I was naive enough to believe that if I prayed to God and was a good person that my life would turn out for the best. Such has not been the case by far. But how can I pray and have faith when my life is permanently and irrecovably ruined?
  16. Rainfall

    Rainfall Well-Known Member

    Wow, a lot of interesting points :D
  17. youRprecious!

    youRprecious! Antiquities Friend

    Firstly, I understand Rainfall, and I am not 'offended' by your talking about God or what Christians believe in the way you have - it is understandable that you have many questions about His/Her existence, character, motives, plans, ways of working etc. All your questions are very genuine and normal and need to be asked. "If you need to know, you need to ask" - so this is why Soap Box exists, I guess, and I thank SF for it ")

    I will post that bit I wrote about yesterday after this - not to worry if there is tons in it that either you're confused about or angry about - hopefully it can all be explained in more detail later.

    The ominipotent self-restriction thing - the Orthodox Jews call it Tzim-Tzum - and without it, there could be no free will and we would all be puppets. This is NOT the same as concluding therefore, that God is evil.
    Sadangel - love your post :)
    Valk - the truth is, that God is able and He wants to - He provided Calvary. He provided the Incarnation firstly, Calvary second, and the Resurrection, third. If you delve into the deep meaning of these three, you will come to understand the truth of the matter from His/Her perspective, and things will begin to make more sense. I understand that staying on the circumference of all of this, and choosing to not progress any further towards the centre, things do not make a lot of sense from the edges.
  18. youRprecious!

    youRprecious! Antiquities Friend

    D1979 - just read your post, and I feel for the burden that you carry, believe me. 15 years ago I truly believed my life had been permanently and irrevocably ruined, and this was as 'a Christian'.

    I hope that, reading the thread and others' views here, will help to bring hope back into your life. I know it is trite to say "His ways are not our ways, nor are our ways His ways"..........not an awful lot of comfort, I admit, when things go so badly wrong and leave us hurt, in pain and confused and angry.

    What God has done for me, when I was the least deserving (imo) - has given me the faith to believe He is able to, for everyone, restore their lives, just as He promises to. (For convenience sake, I refer to God as a He, although He is as much feminine as masculine (we are made in His image, both male and female) - it's just that it's laborious to have to type He/She every time :)
  19. youRprecious!

    youRprecious! Antiquities Friend

    For Rainfall then - this is what I read yesterday:

    A Reading from Gateway to Hope by Maria Boulding
    Though God is an almighty lover, he can find himself shut out, and he longs to find an open door of vulnerability in us. It is extraordinarily hard for us to realise this, conditioned as we are by a secular ethic of success and a religious ideal of moral perfection which may owe little to the gospel. God calls us, implants his life in the deepest centre of our being at baptism, and loves us into growth. He does not propose to us some lofty, rigid ideal to which we must attain by our own unaided human resources. We are more sinful than we know, more deeply flawed than we can recognise by any human insight; but grace works in us in the deepest places of body and spirit. We must live from our weakness, from the barren places of our need because there is the spring of grace and the source of our strength, as Paul discovered: ‘When I am weak, then I am strong.’ When we can stand before God in the truth of our need, acknowledging our sinfulness and bankruptcy, then we can celebrate his mercy. Then we are living by grace, and we can allow full scope to his joy.

    For many of us it is difficult to live honestly from this place of failure and weakness. Even if we know with our heads we should, we may still slip back into the old attitudes and behave as though God were expecting us to succeed and making his love conditional upon our achievements. If we have become hardened in such an attitude it may take some deep experience of failure to disabuse us.

    When a crisis occurs I may find in myself the sheer moral impossibility of obeying God. It is not simply a matter of emotional rebellion, or of knowing that ‘the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak’; the will itself is unwilling. I am rebellious to the core and do not even want to want God’s will. Perhaps I can push it one stage further from me, and say with a kind of tortured effort, ‘I want to want to want your will,’ and then ask myself if there is even a grain of honesty or good will in that. I am helpless; and, as the father of the epileptic boy cries to Jesus, ‘I do believe, help my unbelief,’ so I can only say to God, ‘I am rebellious down to my roots, help me.’

    Here, as we teeter on the edge of despair, beset by every kind of temptation and feeling as though we had already fallen, the Spirit is released. This is his own place, the deepest place of our being where he is wedded to our spirit, where he can act and give life, where he can free us from all that hampers the true thrust of our will. God himself creates our freedom; he gives us freedom as his continuing gift of love, and he alone can influence it from within, in no way violating or diminishing it.
    Entombed Lazarus is a sign not simply of a certain group of people who had obviously closed their hearts against Jesus, but of each one of us. In this hopeless situation, where you are nothing but stark failure, you know the miracle of grace. This tomb is the place of resurrection, and if you believe you will see the glory of God.
  20. youRprecious!

    youRprecious! Antiquities Friend

    .... and I've just read the comments on p.2 here concerning hell and C.H's view of it, blaming God for its creation as a place of torment (for those who choose not to worship Him)

    Of course, if that were really the case, and C.H. hadn't taken the common assumption so literally, God would not be worth believing in.

    But, actually, Hell's lock is on the inside, not the outside. The parish priest was right - we do not have to believe anyone is down there. Hell (in its literal form) as described in Revelation and talked about by Jesus - in actual essence is 1) state of mind (and if you get a lot of minds together, you get a place) 2) reserved for the devil and his angels - the deceiver who has been active in humanity from Genesis through to today -

    But, this is another huge topic that I've only glossed over here. (Calvary was/is all about grabbing back the keys of death and hell, so we don't have to fear either.)
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