Monday, August 27, 2012

Answering Maybrick's objection to Soteriolgoical Drama: free will defense


This was an exchange on CARM message board with an atheist named "Maybrick." It's about the free will defense. I feel that there's a self religiousness in frantic hatred of God that is born of pain and suffering. It's something I want to be sensitive to but there's a point at which it goes too far. This question was brought on by a discussion of "natural evil." By that is meant bad things that are not moral choices such as drought and storms, car wrecks.

Originally Posted by Metacrock View Post
(1) Natural "evil" isn't' evil it's just unfortunate. It's necessary as a result of real world

(2) God can't stop all calamity or unfortunate things or the search would be violated.

(3) the search is the point of of our lives.
Notice: I think there's also an implication that he doesn't understand the concept of natural evil. He seems to think it's denouncing it's pain more to call it "evil." If you don't call it evil then you somehow don't mind it as much. The reality is "evil" is a moral designation and "natural" "evil" means things that are moral choices, things of a painful nature, such as tornado, pain caused by them. No moral choice is involved, so its' not "evil" morally.

To me this is insulting, a little.

You reduce a fairly significant portion of pretty much all living organisms existance (of those have nervous systems) to a fairly simple and wholly unnecessary (if God exists) statement that, essentially, suffering is needed.


I don't see it that way. you are basing that on my statement that we have pain because we have a real world. what I mean by that is we have nervous systems so we can feel pain. That's an evolutionary adaption that serves a positive function. God didn't have to design it specifically he just needed to have the basic concept of evolutionary life and then let it develop.

Nor did I attach a value to pain. I didn't say "people get pain because they did wrong." I said nothing of the kind.

I suggest you pay a little visit to a cancer ward in your nearest hospital. If you are lucky you might just catch the last few hours/days of a Human being, "loved" by God, whose cancerous vagina has rotted through to her bowels and is dieing in great pain and the knowledge that everyone around her is smelling her crap. You can console her suffering relatives with your logical constructions. Or maybe just give them rubbish phrases like "god has a plan". Or maybe you can explain to them just how Jesus died for them.
I want to be sensitive to the pain that people feel and not dismiss their anger toward God. Not that I think God is blameworthy but I have been angry at God for injustice and pain in my own life I know how this feels. I also sense a certain degree of self righteousness as though this guy thinks he's the only one who has suffered. He seems to be saying "If you don't hate God it must because you have never felt pain." He makes the simplistic equation 'if pain happens, God is unworthy." that comes form the idea that stopping pain is the only valid thing. As much as I sympathize with suffering people, and I do (and I have my share of pain--likely to have more) there tings that are more important than stopping pain.

I would rather have freedom to think and choose and have free will and take the hist and suffer in life than to eleiminate all pain and have no free will. Free will is imporant in the equation because it is for this reason that God risks allowing evil. So we will seek the good freely because we choose to, because we can to be God, not because we are forced to. That extends to natural evil because it means to keep the necessity of a search for the truth viable the question of God can't be so obvious as to remove all doubt. If no one ever suffered in a real world where we have nerve endings hen it would soon be obvious some powerful force prevents pain. Then there would be no search becasue no one searches for what is obvious. The search is important because that's how we internalize the values of the good.

This what I told him on the board:
you are trying to say God can't be there because if he was he would never allow anyone to suffer. that's assumption not in evidence. The whole point of a free will defense is to say there are intervening variables that make it necessary to allow pain. you do not have an answer to this. You expect the emotional appeal to sway one to hate God without ratinoal consideration of the logical possibilities.

I lost everything. I lost my home. I lost my parents. I lost my career. every thing I worked for in life was taken away form me and I got a debilitating leg problem that means I can't work. how dare you say that!

I did hate God. I got angry at God. I drove around shouting "YOU LIAR! YOU BASTARD!" I mocked scripture at the top of my lungs shouting "I AM THE RIGHTEOUS iM BEGGING FOR BREAD, YOU LIAR! i DIDN'T DO ANYTHING TO DESERVE THIS JOB STUFF"

When the time came God was there. he picked me up and said "that's ok I still love you. none of this hapepned to hurt you." He made it all ok. It's like he was grining and saying 'I've heard worse."

I feel for you. Hey I would probably feel the same way if I went through that. I did react in anger and self pity. I am very sorry for the pain you have had that does not disprove God. you are trying to dictate to me what I can believe you use your own pain as emotional backtalk. I have had my own share of pain. I choose not to allow that to destroy my relationship with god because want to grow.

I cannot conceive of a loving god when you smell the stink of a human rotting alive.
that's your deficiency not mine and not God's. you refuse to learn and grow. you want the emotion of hurt to stand in your way of knowing God, I don't.

I know hurt. I know pain. my legs are rotting away. my booster is rotting away. god is there and he's good and helping us.

That answer is probalby too insensitive. I can understand that feeling. When you are experiencing it it's penitent and immediate you can't be rational about it. you can only step back from it latter when you are no longer going through it.

And unless you redefine God as Morphine and Fentanyl, I suggest that no God worthy of the name would tolerate a system which allowed that magnitude of pain to exist.
that's your mistake. you formulating an opinion. that is not soemthing you can prove. It's a personal decision about your respond to life. It's not a positive response I don't think. I choose to grow and learn and know God.

That's going too far. That's that self religiousness I see in his earlier statments. It seems to assume first, that stopping pain is all there is, that's the meaning of life. Secondly, it assumes that those who don't hate god have never felt pain. These are both irresponsible and irrational assumptions.


Kristen said...

There are no easy or pat answers to the problem of pain. But for me, if you say that because there is pain, there is no God, what is left? Only the pain.

I'd rather have pain and God, than just pain.

Yes, this is an emotional argument. But the argument that describes graphically the worst pain possible to imagine, as if the worse the pain, the less there can be a God-- that is also an emotional argument. Sometimes, when everything is distilled to the fundamental essence of the human condition, the emotional arguments are the ones that matter.

God holds my hand through my pain. I'd rather have God's hand than not. That's all.

Metacrock said...

Yes, there are no easy answers. Yet it is the expectation of an easy answer to just say "ok pain = no God." I can relate to the idea "why would God let this happen to anyone, let alone good old me?" On the other hand multiplying examples doesn't add to the issue. I find that the pain negates God side multiply examples and when you try to answer the arguments they seem to think you are being unfair.

Kristen said...

Metacrock said,

"I find that the pain negates God side multiply examples and when you try to answer the arguments they seem to think you are being unfair."

Yes. I think that's because the only proper answer to extreme pain is emotional sympathy. Even Job's friends, when they first saw his pain, said nothing at all for the first few days. They just sat and showed that they felt for him.

Answering an example of pain with any sort of argument at all, comes across as unfair/unsympathetic. But this is precisely the reason why it's unfair to use these examples as anti-God arguments. There is no way to respond to them without coming across as callous. They aren't actually "arguments," in any sense at all, in the first place-- and one can't respond to a emotional non-argument with a logical argument. It doesn't work, and it's not fair to expect it.

Metacrock said...

Exactly! they are not arguments they are unfair. I've always thought so. They are kind of taking advantage. They are emotional. This is just another atheist hypocrisy. they put down emotion as a improper basis for decision then they want you to discord belief on the basis of emotion.

Kristen said...

Yes-- and that's why I tell them I'd rather hang onto belief on the basis of emotion. Pain with God is better, emotionally, than pain without God. There can be no answer to that but, "That's an emotional argument." To which I reply, "So was yours."

Metacrock said...

LOL that's a cool answer!