Theodicy (Introduction)

by dhw, Monday, November 02, 2020, 12:45 (27 days ago) @ David Turell

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

dhw: 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: Thought patterns never tell us "God's reasons for His actions. 'Thought patterns' mean logical thought to me. Nothing more. You unconsciously humanize Him.

Nothing can tell us (a) whether God exists, or (b) what might be the reasons for his actions. That is why we theorize. And for nth time, it is absurd to dismiss a perfectly logical theory on the grounds that it involves “logical thought” like ours, when you have told us that “his logic is like ours”, and elsewhere, he “very well could think like us”, and he probably has thought patterns and emotions and other attributes similar to ours.

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.

dhw: 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: No equivalence here. Free will is at the thought level, not the design of increasing complexities in evolution.

The equivalence lies in God deliberately giving up control.

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: You've missed my point. Whether He cares of not is at the point where we are created by His intended design and how we live our lives thereafter.

You said you were sure your God was interested in us. The theodicy theory I proposed was based on God being interested in us. You then said maybe he was not interested in us and “may not care”. I therefore proposed a theodicy theory based on the premise that he did not care. That too fits in with the facts of life’s history.

dhw: 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: Your first sentence describes a God with powerful purposeful personality, which is my view of Him. Then you drift off into your usual namby-pamby humanizing possibilities and your view of Him weakens Him. They are all consistent with the facts we know if we grant Him humanized thinking. To define humanizing, in my approach, any deviation from pure purpose is exactly that. Giving Him interests like entertainment, spectacle, etc. is pure humanization. Our discussion about Garden of Eden vs. problems to enliven interest in solving living problems borders on humanization. we do not know if God is interested in how we enjoy life. Until you read Adler's warnings , as a highly respected philosopher of religion, we will continue to battle.

I am discussing this with you and not with Adler, who apparently warns us not to think of God as if he were human. I do not think of him as if he were human. No human that I know of is capable of creating a universe, or a mechanism that will evolve bacteria into humans. But I agree with you that your God probably has thought patterns similar to ours, “very well may think like us”, and “his logic is like ours”. We do not “know” anything about him. We theorize, and any purpose we give him is sure to be “humanized” and unprovable. What do you mean by “pure purpose”. How can you have purpose without a definable purpose? Our discussion about Garden of Eden does not “border on” humanization – “enhanced interest” is a perfectly logical “humanized” explanation for your God’s actions, and if you want to explain theodicy, you have no choice other than to speculate on your God’s purpose(s). WE CAN’T KNOW THE TRUTH. So why did you bring up the subject in the first place if you didn’t want to discuss POSSIBLE explanations?


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