Sunday, 10 August 2008

Good vs. Evil


Typical apologist argument for god: god exists because good and evil exist and we could not have good and evil without an objective standard from god.

There are, of course, numerous problems with this argument. First, it is assumed that good and evil are objective things, which has not been shown. This would be begging the question. The best we can discern is that the concepts of good and evil are man-made. They come from our culture. This is why a Muslim man might find killing his daughter to be good if she has dishonored the family while another person would look at this action as highly immoral.

Another problem is the assumption that without god, nothing can be objective. This is simply not true, however. There are numerous philosophies devoted to developing objective standards of good and evil, like Utilitarianism, that don't depend at all on some edict given from on high from some deity.

Another problem is the fact that the argument assumes god's existence and that only god can provide such things as good and evil. This is begging the question. Since we have no evidence for god, what is left for the apologist is to argue against every other conceivable option, until only the option of god is left. This is clearly impossible though, because how would one know if all the options (known and unknown) have been examined properly?

One more issue I'd like to bring up is that the apologist in the this argument usually seems to demand that only their god can fit the bill, when in reality, if their argument actually held weight, just about any god would be capable of fitting the bill. In short, even if this argument didn't have the above problems, it would still only be an argument for some type of theistic thought and that's it.

10 comments:

igod said...

Could a god change the rules of morality? Could a god say, Thou SHALT kill?" Could a god change all the moral rules?

Clearly, Christians pay lip service to the idea that we are not, as humans, supposed to kill other humans (except in godless places like Iraq).

But if yes, and a god could change the rules, then morality is changeable, according to the whim of a god. But that would mean no true moral standard exists, if we think a god could change it at will.

If no, a god can't change the moral rules (even if god created them), then morality exists outside of a god's powers. Such a god would not be omnipotent, and we would have no need for a god, at least when it comes to morality.

GCT said...

Euthyphro's dilemma is still a problem for theists. Lately, the in vogue "answer" is to assert that god is the standard of goodness as it is part of his nature. god must be good because he can't go against his own nature, so therefore the dilemma is supposedly solved. It isn't, however, because what they are saying is that god has no control over morality, hence the second horn applies.

Wallis said...

I believe we start at the wrong starting place.

We make our first "Given" that God is the originator of good. This is a false starting place, because what God considers "good" is so often conrary to what we humans believe to be "good."

In actuality, God has nothing to do with "good" or "bad." We humans put into God's mouth (if he has one) what is "good" and what is "bad."

God is the excuse people give for defining society, so that people do not turn into animals and kill, maim, torture, and--generally--rise to nothing more than animals.

Consider this: if we hold a "Given" that God in omniscient and omnipresent, then where is evil? Evil cannot be outside God; otherwise, God is neither omniscient or omnipresent. God is evil; or rather, evil is a part and parcel of God.

And God is good. This means that despite man's puny attempts to put order to chaos, he cannot accept that fact that good and evil are the same, because man has decided what to call "good" and what to call "evil" depending upon the age mankind resides in.

GCT said...

Wallis,
Why do I get the feeling that you are clicking on the wrong comment link? Your comment has nothing to do with the OP, unless you are making the argument that what humans consider good and evil are completely separate from the concept of god? You seem to be talking about a god that may as well not exist at all.

Wallis said...

Perhaps it is the way you are presenting the OPs. Not a criticism,necessarily.

I find most of your OPs harping on basically the same topic.

Yes, I am stating that God is completely different from man's point of view regarding "good" and "evil."

From what I gather here is that you want to make a human standard to judge God.

If God cannot meet that standard, then you summarily dismiss God as not existing.

This is your choice.

I am trying to bring forth an idea--not a new idea, by the way--that there is more to the universe than the "black-and-white" perception most human beings prefer to embrace.

Oh,by the way,igod: the correct translation of the sixth commandment is "That shalt not murder."

There is an interesting read, by the way, on the commandments found here: http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/lewis/lewten0c.htm

Wallis said...

Just read Euthyphro's dilemma on the Internet.

Basically, I find that people arguing for or against or somewhere in-between are still operating within a human sphere of understanding.

It's too bad a few Buddhists are not in the discussion.

All of the great men mentioned in the articles I read still operate from a human perspective and not from a God-perspective. But then again, I doubt that I will ever have much of an inkling--just feelings and musings--how to even approach a God perspective.

GCT said...

Wallis,
"Basically, I find that people arguing for or against or somewhere in-between are still operating within a human sphere of understanding."

No, it's actually from a logic perspective/sphere of understanding. Either it's logical or it isn't. In this case it's a logical paradox that theists have yet to adequately deal with.

"All of the great men mentioned in the articles I read still operate from a human perspective and not from a God-perspective."

I'm not even sure how that matters. Your comment smacks of moral relativity, which is counter to Xian tenets.

franko said...

god is a fuckin no good scumbag for putting me on this earth to suffer. all i ever wanted out of life, was to meet the right woman for me and have the family that i always wanted to have. i do not think that it is too much to ask for, especially for what is normal too have today. why should so many other men and women find happiness with one another, and not men like me? i did not do anything wrong in my life, as far as i know. i never realized that god would create so many filthy whores and lesbians today, which is the problem. since i seem to meet all the LOW LIFE GARBAGE WOMEN today, instead of a good one for me. i am a straight man that had been married at one time, and the filthy whore cheated on me. and at the time that i was married to her, i loved her very much and never cheated on her. i was very committed to her as well, knowing what i had at home and did not have to go out looking for it anymore. so as you can see, i certainly have a right to be very bitter now. it does seem that god gave certain men and women the luck to have met each other and have a family as well. what about us? what makes these people so god damn special? i am no different than they are, that is for sure. that is why, god is a fuckin scumbag.

Tigerboy said...

Franko:

1. Perhaps calling women "whores" is not the best way to get one to like you.

2. "God" is not a "scumbag." God is a fiction.

3. Your life is (largely) the result of whatever positive or negative efforts you have chosen to put into it.

4. Your problems are not the fault of "God." Your life is not the fault of "LOW LIFE GARBAGE WOMEN." Blaming others for your failures will not help you improve your circumstances or increase your happiness.

4. Women who find love and happiness in the arms of other women (lesbians) have EVEN LESS to do with you. They are not your concern.

5. The world does not owe you a love and/or sex partner. If you wish to be with a loving partner, you must find her, woo her, convince her that you intend on treating her well (which does not include calling her a "whore"), and then do your level best, every day, to be the best, most loving, most trustworthy partner you can be.

Hopefully, it will work out! (If it doesn't, perhaps it will not be entirely the fault of other people, or external, fictitious, scumbag, magical deities.)

Give it a try. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

i so very much agree with this guy, and many women are definitely the cause of the DIVORCE RATE being so very high today.