Return to David's theory of theodicy;Plantinga & Held (Evolution)

by dhw, Monday, April 01, 2024, 11:48 (20 days ago) @ David Turell


DAVID: What Plantinga taught me was God having a morally sufficient reason for evil, as an explanation of evil.

Plantinga’s one and only morally sufficient reason was that God allows all the horrors of evil (my example was the Holocaust) because he wants us to love him of our own free will. When I said this made God a self-centred monster, you rejected Plantinga’s argument. And you can’t think of any morally sufficient reason yourself.

DAVID: Once again you have avoided my thought: it is God who has a "morally sufficient reason" to allow evil.

But you can’t think of any, and you reject Plantinga’s.

DAVID: God does not run the world but is in touch with individuals.

How? And how does that justify his allowing evil?

DAVID: Humans create human evils, and God never stops us. God expects us to correct them.
DAVID: I view it this way: God giving us free will sets up a challenge that we must meet, which is not to do evil, or correct it on our own.

dhw: And what in heaven’s name do you think is the purpose of that? […]

DAVID: Remember Garden of Eden? I expect life to offer interesting challenges, don't you, because those challenges make you grow.

I’m sure all the victims of the Holocaust, war, rape, murder, famine, flood, disease etc. would raise their hats to you and to God for allowing them to be part of this interesting challenge. Must interesting challenges be evil?

DAVID: The issue of a loving God: Adler puts it at 50/50, which I accept as a reasonable judgement.

dhw: Strange that you never mentioned that when you presented us approvingly with Held’s article, which puts love at the very centre of his theology.

DAVID: That has no point! I was demonstrating how current Rabbis soften the OT God and I said that at the time!

Yes, you did. You wrote:

DAVID: This should put to rest dhw's terror of the Original OT God he learned about as a child long ago. Ancient primitive Jews perhaps needed such a tough God to keep them in line. That guy is not necessary now. The God of the Talmud is today's Jewish God.

You clearly approve of Held’s argument that "faced with a choice between love and other competing values, God embraces the former and rebuffs the latter. God risks a lot, and puts up with a lot, all in the name of love —both the love God has for us and the love God hopes that we will embody and bring into the world."
But you disagree with his focus on love, and your own statement leads to the following:

dhw: Humans can change the image of God as they see fit. You exemplify the approach: “I first choose a form of God I wish to believe in. The rest follows.” You, Plantinga and Held are birds of a feather, and are just as ignorant of the truth as I am.

DAVID: We like our 'truth' better than yours.

Yes, you make your God what you wish to make him.

dhw: Your dismissal of deism and process theology as “secondary stream” rings hollow when your own personal theology rejects mainstream theology (both Christian and Jewish) in respect of God’s love. This is called “double standards”.

DAVID: Just like your interpretations.

dhw: Please tell me which of my “interpretations” denote double standards.

DAVID: Because I choose to pick and choose, while you stanchly choose nothing, that is your real double standard.

Double standards denote applying the same standard to justify two directly opposite views: e.g. you reject someone else’s idea because it is not mainstream, but you defend your own idea although it is not mainstream. My acknowledgement of my own ignorance does not involve double standards!


dhw: Will you never understand that theodicy deals with the question why an all-good God has created or allowed evil. […] That is not a “black view”!

DAVID: […] Your black view is to magnify the proportion of evil problems […]

dhw: I do not magnify it. I give you examples of it, because you want us to ignore them. Do you deny that evils such as war, murder, rape, the Holocaust, bugs, natural disasters exist? You kindly gave us Plantinga’s answer, but that turned out to make God into a self-centred monster, so now you revert to trust and to blaming me for pointing out that evil is real!

DAVID: God is a perverted 'self-centered monster'. No wonder you are as agnostic. God really frightens you. Yes, I know all about all the evils you list.

It’s Plantinga’s God who is a perverted “self-centred monster’, which is why you have belatedly rejected his theory! I share your “agnosticism” in so far as if God exists, we don’t know whether he loves us or not. Meanwhile, since you know all about the evils, please stop pretending that the problem of theodicy is solved by ignoring them.

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