Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Group 3: How Benevolent is god?

I don't know how I keep getting the essays focused on the "problem of evil", but I do. In Evoritt's piece, How Benevolent is God..., he takes on the task of dismantling the theist arguments that their must be a greater good that is gained by evil being present in the world and free will. I have covered free will in a previous post so I'll stick to the former on this go around. The theist argument is as follows: A greater good that can only be brought about by the presence of evil is necessary because god is all good as well as all powerful, and if evil was unnecessary then it would not exist. The theist then states that we do not have the moral and intellectual faculties to understand the "greater good" that the presence of evil facilitates, so we need not waist our time and energy trying to support the theory any further. To point out this absurdity of this train of thought, Evoritt uses the analogy of a murderer being caught red handed at the scene of a crime. The suspect doesn't refute the fact that they look guilty, and they have no explanation for why they were found standing over a dead man with murder weapon in hand.....but there must be one even though they can't present one, and In fact, they can't even conceive of an explanation. I think that there is a much simpler reply to the theist's claim of humanity's moral and intellectual shortcomings. The believer is making a moral judgement about the qualities of god when he says that god is good. All the while using their flawed moral compass, and less than all knowing mind to make such a judgement. If we are limited in our understanding of what good can come from suffering on the large scale that we see In the world, how can we know that we are not mistaken on gods essential properties? It seems to make sense to us that god would have an omnibenevolent nature.....but what the fuck do we know? Right?


  1. Agreed. A "greater good" that so exceeded our mental capacity might just as well be arbitrary and bad, by our lights. Such thinking disqualifies us from making any rational judgment at all, as well as from praising God from whom all blessings fall. What's a blessing?

  2. It certainly seems to be a self-sealing sort of argument.

    It reminds me of the admonition of the Republic, where it is pointed out that you can't make a model of something that is good to then look for what the quality of goodness within it is. By picking it as something "good" and crafting a model, you're already presuming some sort of idea/knowledge of goodness.