Theodicy (Introduction)

by dhw, Friday, November 06, 2020, 11:17 (25 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Same subterfuge. His thinking like us must be logical, but it does not tell us His reasoning to reach His purposes. I'm arguing category of logical thought is all we can conclude about God's thinking. You describe a God with desires like ours, and I view that as illogical, since He is a personage like no other person. You describe His desires, I look for His purposes.

dhw: No you don’t. You stop at one purpose: every extant and extinct life form and econiche is/was “part of the goal to evolve (= directly design) humans.” Nobody knows his purpose or his reasoning, but it makes perfect sense that his purpose should be bound up with what he wants (i.e. his desires). Nobody would argue that if your God exists he is human, but that does not mean he does not have thought patterns etc. similar to ours – as you admit yourself. And so a theory that entails a thought pattern similar to ours cannot logically be dismissed on the grounds that it entails a thought pattern similar to ours!

DAVID: Same dodge. The only definite thought pattern we can count on is logic! We can only judge purpose by results He produced.

I agree that we can only judge purpose by the results, and the illogicality of the thought pattern you impose on your God is dealt with under “error corrections”. If we want to solve the problem of “theodicy”, we can only theorize about your God’s purpose in creating or allowing evil. You cannot draw a line between his desires (= what he wants) and his purpose (= what he wants). You agree that his logic, thought patterns, emotions and other attributes are probably similar to ours, and so it remains utterly absurd to dismiss a theory on the grounds that it has God thinking like us, although you agree that God probably thinks like us.

DAVID: I am discussing my theory about how God works.

dhw: And I am pointing out that there is no “evidence” that your God “tried to protect us from mistakes and bad bugs”.

DAVID: In regarding mistakes you are ignoring or forgotten all the evidence I have presented about very effective editing systems. As for the bugs, we have our own brains to fight them, and some may have a God's purpose we do not yet understand.

Even if it were true that your God designed effective editing systems, they do not explain the existence of evil! If you believe that he created the bugs as a challenge to our human brains (and who cares about all the suffering animals that preceded us?) then you seem to be suggesting that he deliberately created evil as a test for us (though you’re not keen on him being interested in the result even though you’re sure he is watching us). See below. A purpose we do not yet understand is not much help in solving the problem of theodicy.

dhw: [...] why did you raise the subject in the first place?

DAVID: Because the issue needs to be dealt with. As for 'interest' that is a human desire, and God is not human, and His desires never should be analyzed from a human point of view.

dhw: You don’t even try to deal with it. All you can do is tell us to look on the sunny side of your God’s successes, and not to use our human reason, because any explanation we come up with will impose a human thought pattern on God, and although God probably has human thought patterns, any theory with a human thought pattern must be wrong. And for good measure, although you are sure he is interested in us, he might not be interested in us!

DAVID: No, I can't explain away the issues in theodicy, but it outlines our very specific differences. I accept God possible warts and all on the 'sunny side', and all you see is bad.

The problem of theodicy is to explain the bad, not to praise the good!

DAVID: Your other problem is imposing human desires upon God. I limit myself to purposes I can see, no more, which is why I am not sure about how much interest He has in everything we do. I limit my delving into His personality by studying purpose, never applying any human desires to Him. From my purposefully constricted position I can easily identify all of your humanizing attempts.

Yet again your silly “humanizing” argument is dealt with above. How can you possibly even begin to tackle the problem of theodicy without speculating on why your God created or allowed evil? And “why” can only entail discussing his “desires”, i.e. what he wanted to achieve. You dip your toe in the water with your idea that he gave us our brains to meet the challenge of the bad bugs (see above), and you dip the rest of your foot in when you tell us you’re sure he’s watching us with interest...but when I point out that this is exactly the theory I am proposing – that if he exists, he created or allowed good and evil in order to have something more interesting to watch than what you call a dull Garden of Eden – you snatch your foot out of the water and limp away screaming: “Humanizing!” :-D


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