Thursday, October 15, 2009

Good, Evil And God

This post is related to the (somewhat) on-going debates about the Problem of Evil as well as the more recent post by christian about God, Good and Evil.

The problem comes about what good and evil are, in relation to God.

If we define good and evil based upon God, then the discussion ends. If it is take a priori that everything God does is good, then that certainly would eliminate the Problem of Evil, but not the way Christians intend.

The intention (as far as I can infer) is that God = Good leads to the solution that, yes there is evil, but it is being handled, by God in the best possible way. That this is the most good of all possible worlds.

But in reality, God = Good undermines the Problem of Evil by invalidating the very premise that evil exists.

This is because that the terms "good" and "evil" that are in use by people on an everyday level cannot be "good" and "evil" as based upon the notion that God = Good. If we are going to make an argument based upon these terms, then we have to be consistent.

If we judge God as good based upon God = Good then we also have to judge evil based upon that premise as well. We cannot judge God as good based upon God = Good and then judge evil based upon it's everyday use. It is this type of equivocation that is being used when Christians respond to the Problem of Evil with the God = Good solution.

The problem with God = Good is that it completely eliminates our ability to judge "good" and "evil" in an everyday context. When God = Good then the only actions that are good are those that God himself would do. But we don't know that without God explicitly confirming it. As Christians are always quick to remind us: God is privvy to an innumerable amount of details that we are not. Lacking these details means we can never know if any given act is good or evil unless God personally gives you the thumbs up.

Since good and evil are related, this also applies to evil. Without God directly telling us what is good and evil, we can't judge that evil even exists.

But humans can and do judge the goodness and evilocity of everyday acts. So, in pratice, we use a conception of good and evil that is not based upon God = Good. Not only does this bring the Problem of Evil back into place, but it also gives us the freedom to judge God as Not Good.

by Drafterman of AvC

1 comment:

Zedge said...

Oh, that's good!