1 of 12
1
God is good
Posted: 01 March 2007 08:10 PM   [ Ignore ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1321
Joined  2006-04-24

Sometimes I wonder how people can believe that God is good.  Consider this.  God could haev made the world any way he wanted.  God is supposed to be a merciful and compassionate God.  Yet God made the world so that almost every living thing has to destroy another living thing in order to live.  God made some animals carnivorous.  He made them in such a way that in order to survive, they must kill other animals, often in the most gruesome, horrific manner, causing immense suffering.  And this is by God's design?  God either could not figure out a better way or he deliberately wanted the world to be full of this kind of suffering.  So God is either not omnipotent or just plain malevolent.

I think the Gnostics actually considered this, and this is one of the reasons they believed that this world was not made by the One True God, but by his demiurge, Jehovah—the evil god of the Old Testament.  But these days Christians don't seem to be much disturbed by this.  On the contrary, they proclaim, a priori, that God's creation is good, and that if this is how God intended things to work—animals killing animals in the most horrific manner, in order to survive—then it is a good thing!  A Mormon friend of mine told me that when animals go to be slaughtered, they are happy because they feel that they have fulfilled their God-given purpose on earth—to serve us.  Yes, I am sure that's just what they are thinking when they are being butchered.

Nature has no aims.  Nature has no morality.  So it is not surprising that most living things have evolved to kill other living things for their own existence.  But for a god to deliberately design the world in a way in which living things must kill one another in order to survive—how can such a god possibily be called "good"?  And how can Christians, in all seriousness quote the scripture "Choose Life!!!"  God sure didn't choose life.  He chose to make us, living things, killers.  Not only that, he ordered us to sacrifice animals to him—to torture and kill living animals that feel fear and pain.  Don't you think that the Gnostics were on the right track in their belief that a God who would deliberately design us all to be so bloodthirsty, for our own survival, cannot be a good god?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 March 2007 01:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  621
Joined  2006-12-05

Nature has no aims. Nature has no morality.

I disagree. 

In nature, the strong survive but what is strength?

If strength is just being a killing machine, why don’t far more dangerous animals rule the world instead of humans?

The ability to form communities is strength.  The ability to make laws is strength.  Acting with integrity that others may be willing to do business with you is strength.  The “social contract” is strength.

Those who suggest that teaching evolution or lacking a belief in a sky-daddy who watches over you teaches amorality miss this important point.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 March 2007 03:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1243
Joined  2006-12-26

In Zoroastrianism, and also in Catharism, the material world was made by the EVIL, or dark, principle. Eternal souls had become trapped in this world of woe, and was, or should, struggle to get out of its coils (suicide wouldn’t help at all..)

In H.P. Lovecraft’s writings, the “gods” are decidedly nasty creatures..

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 March 2007 03:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5404
Joined  2006-09-27

[quote author=“NobleSavage”]In nature, the strong survive but what is strength?

If strength is just being a killing machine, why don’t far more dangerous animals rule the world instead of humans?

The ability to form communities is strength.  The ability to make laws is strength.  Acting with integrity that others may be willing to do business with you is strength.  The “social contract” is strength.

Humans are the most dangerous predators the world has ever known.

I run the risk of antagonizing someone in whose posts I generally find little fault. Naturally, one assumes your post is focused on humans.

In nature, it is generally true that the prolific survive. In fact, the only inference about this that you can draw from natural selection is that a survivor is simply someone who survives long enough to reproduce offspring with the same or better survival capacity. Improvements in that capacity are favored. Failures of that capacity are punished mercilessly. But this says nothing about strength, narrowly defined.

Even being too prolific does not doom a species to extinction, but numerous individuals may bite the bullet, and soon thereafter, the dust. Strength and capacity for adaptation differ.

Amazingly, if humans kill off all their other food, they will still last awhile longer eating each other.

 Signature 

INVEST in cynicism!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 March 2007 07:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
Administrator
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  480
Joined  2006-12-16

Once again we’re starting with a very limited meaning for the word ‘God’, based on the very strong desire to disprove what the Judeo/Christian scriptures say on the most literal level.
How about starting with the world as we see and experience it? Lots of destruction, questions about the viability of the current human species, etc. and yet we do want to live in this world, or we would have expired. We want to make life better for ourselves and other life forms we care about, to the best of our limited ability, and religion can be part of this.

Without struggling with any traditional religious texts or teachings, without struggling with questions of good and bad, there still might be a sense of the unspeakably powerful creative forces around us, and a wondering of how all this is arising. Then the word ‘God’ can become useful.

If, in our wondering, we find a silence beyond thought and emotion, things take on a different sort of meaning. There are no words for this, and maybe it is better not to speak of it at all. Maybe lots of people are out there not speaking of it. Good for them. But some of us just can’t help it - we want to talk. And we need this word ‘God’.
So, yes, the first thing is to scrape away the barnacles. And then….?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 March 2007 07:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5404
Joined  2006-09-27

[quote author=“Pat_Adducci”]And we need this word ‘God’.

Yes, certainly, Pat.

My definition of the word, to which I have previously alluded is:

“That which can go fuçk itself.”

In my mind this definition kills two birds with one stone. First, it addresses the issue of god’s omnipotence. Second, it addresses the issue of how essential god is to the day-to-day running of the universe.

 Signature 

INVEST in cynicism!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 March 2007 07:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1321
Joined  2006-04-24

[quote author=“NobleSavage”]

Nature has no aims. Nature has no morality.

I disagree. 

In nature, the strong survive but what is strength?

If strength is just being a killing machine, why don’t far more dangerous animals rule the world instead of humans?

The ability to form communities is strength.  The ability to make laws is strength.  Acting with integrity that others may be willing to do business with you is strength.  The “social contract” is strength.

Those who suggest that teaching evolution or lacking a belief in a sky-daddy who watches over you teaches amorality miss this important point.

I don’t see how that is a disagreement.  I siad that Nature, having no intelligence, has no aim and no morality.  Nature doesn’t choose to act with benevolence or malevolence.  That is all I meant.  But I agree with you that someone might read my post and think that theists are amoral.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 March 2007 10:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  334
Joined  2006-11-06

[quote author=“Rami”]Sometimes I wonder how people can believe that God is good.  Consider this.  God could haev made the world any way he wanted.  God is supposed to be a merciful and compassionate God.  Yet God made the world so that almost every living thing has to destroy another living thing in order to live.  God made some animals carnivorous.  He made them in such a way that in order to survive, they must kill other animals, often in the most gruesome, horrific manner, causing immense suffering.  And this is by God’s design?  God either could not figure out a better way or he deliberately wanted the world to be full of this kind of suffering.  So God is either not omnipotent or just plain malevolent.

I think the Gnostics actually considered this, and this is one of the reasons they believed that this world was not made by the One True God, but by his demiurge, Jehovah—the evil god of the Old Testament.  But these days Christians don’t seem to be much disturbed by this.  On the contrary, they proclaim, a priori, that God’s creation is good, and that if this is how God intended things to work—animals killing animals in the most horrific manner, in order to survive—then it is a good thing!  A Mormon friend of mine told me that when animals go to be slaughtered, they are happy because they feel that they have fulfilled their God-given purpose on earth—to serve us.  Yes, I am sure that’s just what they are thinking when they are being butchered.

Nature has no aims.  Nature has no morality.  So it is not surprising that most living things have evolved to kill other living things for their own existence.  But for a god to deliberately design the world in a way in which living things must kill one another in order to survive—how can such a god possibily be called “good”?  And how can Christians, in all seriousness quote the scripture “Choose Life!!!”  God sure didn’t choose life.  He chose to make us, living things, killers.  Not only that, he ordered us to sacrifice animals to him—to torture and kill living animals that feel fear and pain.  Don’t you think that the Gnostics were on the right track in their belief that a God who would deliberately design us all to be so bloodthirsty, for our own survival, cannot be a good god?

This is about as simplistic and facile a view of religion as one could have.  Be an atheist, I don’t think you’re going to hell for it.  But if you’re going to be an atheist, get some decent arguments.  (Go read Plato’s Euthyphro).  And if you’re going to critique religion, it might help if you were critiquing a religion that actually existed.  You’ve set up a strawman (which as you know is one of the atheists favorite words).

1.  People kill each other and do terrible things to each other therefore one shouldn’t believe God (if there is one) is good.  Answer:  Torah is very clear that man has free will.  Men are accountable for their own actions against others and in fact the Torah imposes a duty on the whole of humanity to adjudicate and punish wrongs commited amongst men.  (See Gen. ch. 9, re: the laws of Noah).  Could God have created man without free will?  I suppose, but then we wouldn’t be having this debate.  Humanity is the pinacle of creation because it is the only part of creation that has a mind of its own.

2. Animal sacrfice.  Answer:  you really need to do your homework.  Only Jews (and pre-Jews, e.g. Abraham) performed animal sacrifices.  This was never a commandment for Christians or Muslims.  Jews haven’t sacrficed an animal in nearly 2000 years and the uses of animal sacrifice were incredibly limited.  The practice was only permitted at the temple (which as you know got destroyed in 70CE). 

3.  Humanity’s omnivorous nature.  Answer:  you need to learn your Genesis.  Adam and Eve were vegetarians.  Permission is given to man to eat flesh only with Noah.  (See Gen. Ch. 9).  In addition, the rules of koshrute deal at length with the method of slaughter.  You can’t just bludgeon an animal.  The animal must be killed in such a way so that it does not suffer, etc.  Indeed, the rules of koshrute are fundamentally about establishing an ethical relationship with your food (as is saying grace, etc.).  There are other reasons for the rules as well, but I assure you, it has never had anything to do with health reasons.

4.  Not all animals are vegetarians (or why can’t everything just feed itself through photo-synthesis).  Answer:  Carnivorous animals usually eat only the young, the old or the sick of herbivorous populations.  (Oh, and thank God for things that eat insects!)  In addition, absent carnivours, there would be nothing to keep the herbivour populations in check.  They would strip the world of its vegetation and then we’d all die.  Very clever that God fellow; always thinking ahead.

Your inevitable rejoinder:  Ok, so there’s evil in the world, surely an all powerful God could have created a perfect world!

So your criticism is that either God isn’t good or there is no God because we don’t live in utopia.  Which basically amounts to blaming God for life and existence.  Not terribly persuasive.

But this of returns us to philosophy.  Man is the kind of creature that needs to struggle, to achieve, to set goals and accomplish them.  It’s difficult to imagine anything more boring than utopia.  (For a little contemporary sci-fi reference, think of the Matrix where Smith explains to Neo that the first version of the Matrix failed because it tried to create utopia.)

Cheers!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 March 2007 10:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
Administrator
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  480
Joined  2006-12-16

Let’s go back to the original statement which said something like, ‘God is either powerless, crazy or bad. Since that can’t be true, then the truth is obviously that there is no God.’
Progress in our culture has made this line of thinking possible, and legal. We don’t have to tie ourselves in conceptual knots trying to explain the obvious in terms of an outdated concept.
Also, we don’t have to use Creation as an indicator of a Creator, as Thomas Paine is quoted in his rejection of the Bible as the only Word of God. Thanks to progress in science during the past couple of hundred years, we are just fine studying ‘Nature’ as a collection of physical forces without purpose, meaning or external guidance.
That, however, is not the end of the story for me, or anyone else in this forum who has the emotional drive to continue this discussion.
Times have changed. The purpose of religion has shifted from explaining and controlling to guiding.
Religion now has no other purpose than to guide us into a more conscious alignment with spirit. So, ok, another word that can’t be defined, and yet, it can be pointed toward with words and can be perceived by any of us, if we first understand there’s no object out there to be looking for.
It’s by looking within, closer than concept or sensation, that we begin a knowing of our common ground of being.
Then, coming back into conversation, we can use whatever words seem to express it best. I used to avoid the word ‘God’ but that changed, as I needed some way to express the Unchanging.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 March 2007 02:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  558
Joined  2006-11-17

!free will!

The imaginary excuse for murder, violence and disease. Did the jews have free will as the nazi’s burned them. Did the Tutsi have free will when the Hutu butchured them. Did the atheist have free will when he was burned at the stake by the catholic. Did the 8yr old have free will when he developed lymphoma…... ad infinitum

There are many things that are not explained by free will. Disease and disaster are good examples. Free will does not explain 8 high school students dying during a tornado or thousands of coastal residents dying during a hurricaine.

Plus, we do not have free will. Most people cannot kill a loved one because it is genetically ingrained in them. They can, however, kill others from outgroups because this is also genetically ingrained. Science explains our actions much better than religion.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 March 2007 02:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  17
Joined  2007-03-02

Free will exists.

Jews during the Holocaust had the option of going to Palestine before the Germans reached them. Even in the camps, they could choose to stay passive or try to escape (both crappy choices, since both usually led to death, but choices nonetheless).

Also, we can go against what is ingrained into us by genes or society. Some men have killed loved ones; some have shown mercy on those they hated. For example, my free will is choosing to log off after making this comment, in spite of how interesting these debates are, because I choose to place food as a priority over blogging. lol

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 March 2007 04:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  331
Joined  2006-10-10

[quote author=“Rami”]God made some animals carnivorous.

I always find it puzzling when people try to make some version of the argument from evil, and base it on relatively trivial stuff like carnivores or appendicitis or whatever. You’d think stuff like the Holocaust might work a tad bit better than the fact that animals eat each other.

Animal pain, in and of itself, is morally neutral. It can acquire moral significance, based on the context. For example, gratuitous human-engineered animal pain, as found in modern factory farms, is immoral. Tiger killing a gazelle, not immoral.

(I’d also say that human pain, in and of itself, is morally neutral. It all depends on context. In the context of a dentist office, for example, human pain is maybe unpleasant, but it’s morally neutral. Unless it’s one of them Nazi dentists.)

I think the Gnostics actually considered this, and this is one of the reasons they believed that this world was not made by the One True God, but by his demiurge, Jehovah—the evil god of the Old Testament.

I thought the basic idea is derived from platonism or wherever it is they got their dualism from. Matter is evil, this world is material, therefore this world is evil. An evil world can’t be made by The One, so it must be made by a lesser entity. The Gnostics inherited this scheme, and then slotted in biblical names where they thought they fit.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 March 2007 05:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1568
Joined  2006-03-02

[quote author=“Climacus”]Animal pain, in and of itself, is morally neutral. It can acquire moral significance, based on the context. For example, gratuitous human-engineered animal pain, as found in modern factory farms, is immoral. Tiger killing a gazelle, not immoral.

C’mon. Don’t say ridiculous things.  If animal pain is morally neutral, why do we regularly euthanize animals who are suffering? And why do we regard this as the right thing to do?

Which would be the better situation:

(A)  A tiger kills a gazelle before which the gazelle suffers intense fear and the intense pain of razor-sharp teeth piercing flesh.

(B)  A tiger kills a gazelle but God intervenes and sedates the gazelle so that she doe not feel any pain or fear.

Let’s think just a bit before we come up with knee-jerk defenses or our so-beloved deities.

 Signature 

What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 March 2007 06:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1321
Joined  2006-04-24

“Pat_Adducci”]Once again we’re starting with a very limited meaning for the word ‘God’, based on the very strong desire to disprove what the Judeo/Christian scriptures say on the most literal level.

But, Pat, I was referring to the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible, the God who, we are told on a daily basis, is the God of Love, the God who created the world ex nihilo, the one who in his infinite wisdom and love, created the world and pronounced it good.  I am making the point that God made the world exactly the way he wanted to make it and he thought he did a good job.  He deliberately made the world this way, he deliberately intended fo animals to kill each other in such horrific ways.  Apparently God has no moral objection to suffering—otherwise why would he create carnivores who MUST kill other animals in order to exist?

How about starting with the world as we see and experience it? Lots of destruction, questions about the viability of the current human species, etc. and yet we do want to live in this world, or we would have expired. We want to make life better for ourselves and other life forms we care about, to the best of our limited ability, and religion can be part of this.

I don’t understand what point you are trying to make or how this counters my point.

But as long as you bring it up, how about we make life better for ourselves and other life forms without religion and through reason and an understanding that life will only be as wonderful as we make it, that we must take responsibility for our lives for the way we treat other beings and the world, and that no god has given us license to have “dominion” over the world?  Do you not see how religion and in particular belief that we are given dominion over the world by God is indeed a very harmful and dangerous notion?  I say, do see the world as you experience it, but get rid of religion and its irrationality, and approach it fro the point of view of reason.

Without struggling with any traditional religious texts or teachings, without struggling with questions of good and bad, there still might be a sense of the unspeakably powerful creative forces around us, and a wondering of how all this is arising. Then the word ‘God’ can become useful.

I actually think the word “God” obscures our ability to understand what it is that we actually mean.  Look at how people are still bickering over what Einstein meant by “God”.

And if “God” is some symbollic personification of some inanimate natural force that brought about the emergence of the Universe, then “God is good” doesn’t mean anything. 

If, in our wondering, we find a silence beyond thought and emotion, things take on a different sort of meaning. There are no words for this, and maybe it is better not to speak of it at all. Maybe lots of people are out there not speaking of it. Good for them. But some of us just can’t help it - we want to talk. And we need this word ‘God’.

I don’t understand why you think you need the word “God”.  I don’t understand why you cannot speak precisely of what you mean without obscuring everything with the mention of this multivalent word?  I really think using it automatically leads conversation away from clarity—unless you have an agreement with everyone you are conversing with that by God you mean x, y, z and not p, q, r. 

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 March 2007 07:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1321
Joined  2006-04-24

This is about as simplistic and facile a view of religion as one could have.  Be an atheist, I don’t think you’re going to hell for it.

How big of you.

But if you’re going to be an atheist, get some decent arguments.  (Go read Plato’s Euthyphro).  And if you’re going to critique religion, it might help if you were critiquing a religion that actually existed.  You’ve set up a strawman (which as you know is one of the atheists favorite words).

I wonder why.

1.  People kill each other and do terrible things to each other therefore one shouldn’t believe God (if there is one) is good.  Answer:  Torah is very clear that man has free will.  Men are accountable for their own actions against others and in fact the Torah imposes a duty on the whole of humanity to adjudicate and punish wrongs commited amongst men.  (See Gen. ch. 9, re: the laws of Noah).  Could God have created man without free will?  I suppose, but then we wouldn’t be having this debate.  Humanity is the pinacle of creation because it is the only part of creation that has a mind of its own.

This has nothing to do with my post.

2. Animal sacrfice.  Answer:  you really need to do your homework.  Only Jews (and pre-Jews, e.g. Abraham) performed animal sacrifices.  This was never a commandment for Christians or Muslims.  Jews haven’t sacrficed an animal in nearly 2000 years and the uses of animal sacrifice were incredibly limited.  The practice was only permitted at the temple (which as you know got destroyed in 70CE).

I am sorry, how is this any better?  God ordered the deliberate slaughter of animals, animals that feel fear, pain and suffering.  How can such a god be good?  How can such a god be viewed as the God of compassion? 

3.  Humanity’s omnivorous nature.  Answer:  you need to learn your Genesis.  Adam and Eve were vegetarians.  Permission is given to man to eat flesh only with Noah.  (See Gen. Ch. 9).

Was it not God who gave mankind license to eat the flesh of animals?

“The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered.  Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you green plants, I give you everything.”

Why would a good God do this?  It is quite clear that God does not care about the “fear and dread” of the animals, let alone the pain and suffering of their being killed.

In addition, the rules of koshrute deal at length with the method of slaughter.  You can’t just bludgeon an animal.  The animal must be killed in such a way so that it does not suffer, etc.  Indeed, the rules of koshrute are fundamentally about establishing an ethical relationship with your food (as is saying grace, etc.).  There are other reasons for the rules as well, but I assure you, it has never had anything to do with health reasons.

You actually think this makes things better, don’t you?  Do you really think that there is any such thing as a pain-free slaughter?  Furthermore, the killing an animal, one is robbing it of its one chance to experience existence.  Do you think this is really a compassionate way of treating animals?  And if Adam and Eve were created to be vegans, and therefore eating flesh is not necessary for survival, then the killing of animals in unnecessary, is it not?  What possible reason does God have for telling us to go ahead and kill animals?

4.  Not all animals are vegetarians (or why can’t everything just feed itself through photo-synthesis).  Answer:  Carnivorous animals usually eat only the young, the old or the sick of herbivorous populations.

Usually?  ONLY?  How does that make it better?  Remember, God could have made the world any way he wanted to. 

(Oh, and thank God for things that eat insects!)

Well, hold on, why did God make those pesky insects?  Again, God, in his infinite wisdom, could have made the world any way he wanted.  He could have created a world in which there was no suffering necessitated by the need for a carnivore to survive.  Yet, he made some animals carnivorous, animals who have to kill other animals in the most grotesque, gruesome and horrific ways, animals who are not at all restrained by the koshrute rules.  How can anyone claim that God is a god of compassion, when he designed some animals to be ruthless killers?

In addition, absent carnivours, there would be nothing to keep the herbivour populations in check.  They would strip the world of its vegetation and then we’d all die.  Very clever that God fellow; always thinking ahead.

God could have designed the world any way he wanted.  Such an incredibly intelligent God could have found a solution for this, a solution that did not involve the fear, pain and suffering of sentient beings—if he cared about these things.  The Bible is quite clear that he did not care about the pain and suffering of animals.  Yet, you call this God “good”.

Your inevitable rejoinder:  Ok, so there’s evil in the world, surely an all powerful God could have created a perfect world!

So your criticism is that either God isn’t good or there is no God because we don’t live in utopia.  Which basically amounts to blaming God for life and existence.  Not terribly persuasive.

Stawman argument.  This is not the “problem of evil” argument you have dealt with before.  Stay with my argument—God could have made this a world in which animals did not have to kill each other and thus cause pain and suffering.  He did not.  He deliberately designed animals to be ruthless killers.  How can such a God, a God who chose to design some animals to be carnivores, be a god of compassion?  How can such a god be called “good”? 

But this of returns us to philosophy.  Man is the kind of creature that needs to struggle, to achieve, to set goals and accomplish them.  It’s difficult to imagine anything more boring than utopia.

I see, so to avoid the boredom of Utopia, in which animals don’t have to kill each other for their own survival, God decided to throw in a bit of pain and suffering?  I am disappointed.  I expected a better argument from you.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 March 2007 08:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1321
Joined  2006-04-24

“ClimacusI always find it puzzling when people try to make some version of the argument from evil, and base it on relatively trivial stuff like carnivores or appendicitis or whatever. You’d think stuff like the Holocaust might work a tad bit better than the fact that animals eat each other.

First of all, this is not the argument from evil.  Second, it is quite clear why I would not use the Holocaust as an example.  Free will is the answer.  We have free will, and God lets us do as we please.  Animals are a different story.  A tiger cannot choose to be vegetarian because it feels killing gazelles causes them pain.  A tiger MUST eat meat in order to survive.  God designed the tiger that way.  God designed the tiger to cause suffering.  Why would a god who deliberately chooses to design animals to cause suffering, pain and fear, be believed to be a good god?  Again, he could have made the world in such a way that such suffering was entirely avoided.  He didn’t.  He chose to build in such suffering into the existence of just about all sentient beings./b]

I thought the basic idea is derived from platonism or wherever it is they got their dualism from. Matter is evil, this world is material, therefore this world is evil. An evil world can’t be made by The One, so it must be made by a lesser entity. The Gnostics inherited this scheme, and then slotted in biblical names where they thought they fit.

Yes, but I remember this being one of their arguments as to why they believed the ruler of the world, its creator, was not a good god.  An evil god (Jehovah) designed animals to kill and eat each other.  A “good” god would have created a world in which such suffering was not necessitated by his design.

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 12
1
 
RSS 2.0     Atom Feed