Theodicy (Introduction)

by dhw, Sunday, November 01, 2020, 11:57 (645 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Nobody knows his reasons. We can only theorize. That means we are guessing what his thought patterns might be. For instance, you are sure he is interested in watching us. So maybe he designed us to have something interesting to watch – just as we do. That is a thought pattern. And if you think he probably has thought patterns similar to ours, it is absurd to say: No, he can’t have designed us to have something interesting to watch because that would be a thought pattern similar to ours.

DAVID: Yes we cannot know His reasons, only guess. So you have made guess as have I. So what! Our knowledge is not advanced.

The same argument applies to God’s existence. Thank you for providing such a good case for agnosticism. Meanwhile, I trust you will now stop trying to use “humanizing” as a reason for dismissing theories based on thought patterns similar to ours.

DAVID: From another thread on balance of nature my thought: 'Evolution could not have advanced beyond bacteria without God pushing evolution, after their invention by God!!!

dhw: If your God had wanted a free-for-all instead of a puppet show, he could have endowed the first cells with the intelligence to design their own advances as conditions changed, offering new challenges and opportunities. No divine pushing necessary.

DAVID: Again a weak God giving up controls.

dhw: Another of your feeble arguments. Usual response: you believe he gave humans free will – same thing, it means giving up control. Why do you regard deliberately giving up control as weak?

DAVID: Why can't you see a purposeful God (my God) will keep tight control. Your free-will analogy is not equivalent to evolutionary process.

Why can’t you see that your God who deliberately gives up control over humans could also deliberately give up control over evolution in order to have something more interesting to watch than what you call a “dull Garden of Eden”?

DAVID: A very weak purpose, which is humanizing in context. We cannot know God has human purposes.

A very weak answer. See above for “humanizing”. We cannot know God’s purpose even if he does exist, and that is why we theorize.

DAVID: You don't ever understand how much you humanize god. We don't know if He is interested. We can only think so. He may not care. That is a logical neutral position.

dhw: Not caring is not a neutral position, but it certainly offers us another theory to explain evil. In this case, your theory would be that God deliberately designed all the bad viruses and bacteria, the many natural horrors such as meat-eating, and would not have bothered to even try and correct the disease-causing errors caused by the system he designed, because he just didn’t care how much suffering he caused. That also fits in with the history of life, and at best makes your God callous, and at worst sadistic. […]

DAVID: Thank you for distorting my possible views in such an obvious way. All the evidence we have shows He tried to edit out errors as much as He could, so He was worried about those consequences. Again an incompletely thought-out comment on your part.

You have missed the point. I offered a theory in line with your certainty that God is interested in us. You then offered an alternative: “He may not care.” And so I offered you another theory on THAT premise. Automatically on THAT premise he would NOT have tried to correct the errors – which at least would relieve him of the weakness you attribute to him. (What you call the back-ups would then be the free cells trying to correct the errors.)

dhw: ...for the sake of argument, as our subject here is theodicy, I am offering a theory which explains the whole of life, and the existence of and reason for good and evil. You have not offered a single logical reason for rejecting it.

DAVID: I don't reject it as it logically fits your humanized form of God. On that basis it is possible but we are not discussing my God and His personality. Can you finally tell me about your God's personality and serious view of purposes.

dhw: Thank you for accepting the feasibility of my theory. As for my view of his personality and purposes, I don’t even know if he exists, but if he does, I have no doubt that he would be extremely powerful, would have had his own purpose(s)/reason(s) for creating life, and would have designed whatever he wanted to design. From that point on, I have a variety of alternative theories concerning his personality and his purposes, all of which you agree are logically based on the few facts we know. […]

DAVID: The first part of your comment fits my view of His purposefulness. The rest is wandering off into never-never land humanizing Him which is your right to do and at that level of thought you are logical about Him since He is thinking humanly. That form of His personality does not fit your first sentence above, and therefore I view it as inconsistent thinking.

Thank you for continuing to accept the logic of my proposals. Between us we have already demolished the silly “humanizing” objection. I don’t know what your last remark refers to. Would you please be more precise?


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