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December 15, 2012

Comments

I appreciate your thoughts. You are obviously a deeply caring person. This is a time of overwhelming grief and we must comfort one another as best we can. Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts. But God, if he existed, could have stopped those bullets. He could have respected everyone's freedom and still stopped the bullets.

Your thoughts are in the right place, but they make me despair. Let us deal with reality as it is, not as we wish that it were.

We must redeem ourselves. Nobody can do it for us. There is hope in that. There is the understanding of connection and responsibility. This is our world, nobody is there for us to make everything okay. Only we can make it better.

Someday may we all see that hope.

"But God, if he existed, could have stopped those bullets. He could have respected everyone's freedom and still stopped the bullets"

God did respect everyone's freedom here, by not stopping the bullets. Second "only we can make it better" well how's that working out for ya? Because people have turned away from God (since his rules don't fit into their lifestyles)this is the world we have fallen into. Look at the first five book of the OT for proof. There is hope my friend and it can be found in only one place, God.

Jason, and others,

I would suggest you listen to this recent presentation on The Problem of Evil

John J.
I find your comments disturbing. I know that you are as stunned and affected as I am by this tragedy and I know that many of us find comfort in our religious beliefs at such times. I deeply feel the need for such comfort. We must come together and work toward mutual understanding. I don't think that this is the time for an argument. But I will leave the discussion with this:

How can any person claim to respect the freedom of those who he allows to die when he could have easily and without the slightest effort prevented those deaths? The freedom of the victims matters much more than that of the perpetrator. But stopping bullets in their paths does not require infringing on anyone's freedom.

My own need to acknowledge the value of the lives of the victims requires me to reject the idea of a God who could have intervened to prevent unspeakable tragedy but for some inscrutable reason chose not to.

Jason,

I find it quite interesting that you think this is not a time for argument, but, at the same time, you apparently don't think its a problem for disagreements, since that is exactly what you have come to do.

You seem to think you have the mind of God under control. But the fact of the matter is, Jason, the God who is revealed to us in the scriptures will not allow you to do this. You are finite and will always be this way. You being finite, and imposing your thoughts onto God (i.e. how He should have acted, or reacted) is no reason to reject God. This simply reveals to us, that when you speak, you do not speak about the God of the Bible, but a god of your imagination.

Jason

"The freedom of the victims matters much more than that of the perpetrator."

Maybe that is how the shooter saw it too and that is what caused him to act as he did. This is the problem with your little formula. It is often those who perpetrate these horrible acts that see themselves as victims and work out the same equation you just offered and see justification for their acts in it. Your formula is a problem, not a solution.

Jason-

Everyone dies. Some sooner than others.

The fact that God didn't prevent these deaths is nothing new. Over 100 billion people have preceded these latest 28 to the grave. God prevented none of those deaths.

Indeed, as Christians, we believe that it was God who cursed the world with death in the first place on account of Sin.

But the rest of the story is that we also believe that God is in the business of overcoming that very curse on account of Christ.

Evolution has obviously decided this is acceptable as it evolved someone capable of doing it.

If there is no God, the shooter will never have to deal with any of the consequences of his actions, so assuming he wished to die why should he care if other die with him?

I wish that we could all meet in person and have a nice discussion (maybe over a few beers). It would be warm and cordial and, unlike talking to one another in blogs, personal. You all seem to care a great deal and I so much respect the way in which your faith informs your lives. I think that it is through personal interaction that we reach understanding, respect, and change.

Thank you, Melinda, for putting your thoughts here and for giving us a space to discuss our own reactions.

Too bad the OP considers this event to be a cue to say something like this.

The atheists may challenge Christianity with evil – how can a good God allow evil?
But what does atheism have to answer evil?

Depends on what 'evil' means.

If you don't believe the Christian story then, whatever you use the word 'evil' for, it is NOT something Adam (of Eden) brought. Atheists do not owe an explanation for Biblical evil!

If you want an explanation for Connecticut, I will hazard a guess: some kind of mental illness - a lot of pain.

No hope.

Of what?

No ultimate justice.

So?

No comfort.

Opinion.

No explanation.

For what? See above.

b
First of all, evolution is not a causation agent, by definition, and thus it is not capable of making decisions. It does not distinguish good from bad, which it would have to do in order to make any decisions at all. The things that one would ascribe to evolution just happen and are not the outcome of a rational decision making process, which is what deciding is all about.

Secondly, since there is a god to satisfy our demand for justice....the shooter knows better now that it is too late. "This is sad...sad only...they did not have to die..." to quote a favorite movie phrase.

RonH


Do you consider the actions of the gunman to be good or evil?

By 'evil', you mean the thing Adam of Eden brought?

I actually think RonH, that most people here might define "evil" as "objective moral wrong", willfully perpetrated. I think of evil (generally)simply as "the absence of good". Do you disagree with that definition? Also, Ron, if you don't believe in objective moral good, or objective moral wrong, what right have you to argue with someone about what is right or wrong, including viewpoints regarding what we are speaking of here on this forum?

The most important nuance of the OP is God’s answer to evil. Before we go there, we must dive into the arms of, not our armchairs, but those parents in that small town. They, right now, “know evil” in a way we cannot from our armchairs. A qualifier here is, if one considers oneself, as I do, of a wretched interior laced all through with putrid appetites and self-serving…..self-serving….. well self-serving every-things, then even in my armchair we can “know evil” should we have one of those introspective moments.


As Christians we have a plane of dissection here. Evil is differentiated from Sin. The Ultimate Good is Love, or rather the God Who Himself is Love. And He is Triune in this: I, You, and that eternal embrace of I-You which is Love’s Singular-We. That’s just what Love “is”. That’s just what God “is”. Any created Self is necessarily the created “I” and is ipso facto “not” Self-Sufficient and thus should it willfully step out of union with the Uncreated Other it must necessarily leave the “I-You” of God-In-Man, Man-In-God and become the Isolated-I, the Pure-Self, and this Privation of something that is actually good (the Self) is in God both Life and Sufficient for He alone is Self-Sufficient through and through but for any Created Self this Privation becomes Isolation and this is necessarily Death for no Created Self is or can be Self-Sufficient. This is not Sin, but is Evil. Love’s Triune is I-You-We and Evil is but That-Less-Two, or God-Less-Two, or Love-Less-Two, as where God is Love’s Triune of I-You-We Evil is but that fierce imprisonment within the Isolated-I.


Evil is God-Less-Two.


Sin is different. Sin has to do with that uncreated thing we find inside of those motions among and between Multiple Perfect Distincts up there in the Triune: Volition, Choice, This-But-Not-That, That-But-Not-This. Sin is found, not in the absence of God, but in the presence of Volition’s motion toward the Self. Sin is the gateway into Evil, not the Evil itself, for we see that Sin is that Motion of the Self into Self, whereas Evil is that Status-Of-Isolation of that Self.


“By [sin], [death] has entered the world”. We see that Sin and Evil (Death) are two different things.


Death is Evil, or the Isolated-I, or God-Less-Two, whereas, Sin is the Gateway, the Door, into Evil.


There is another Door. *Praise God* There is another Door.

Brad B and Wisomlover had a thread about how taking a life offends life itself, and personhood itself, and even offends beyond personhood in its offense, and that has to do with stealing a life’s future. These children, these adults, had a crime against them which is of an eternal sort. Someone stole their *lives*, their *days*, their *joys*, all the Stuff of their Future. Man can take, but Man cannot restore. We know God can restore where Man cannot.

Now, before we journey into, not our armchairs, but into the arms of those parents in that small town who “know evil” better than we at this moment and discuss this Other-Door wherein the Self pours itself into God, or, whereby God, Love Himself, spreads His arms wide and pours Himself into the Created-Self and thereby that thing that is Life, which is God-In-Man, Man-In-God, becomes Actuality in which we find Truth preceding Corporeal, Immaterial preceding Material, we must first show that all the atheist has to offer us here is his Fairy Tale.

The Atheists really think their fairy tales “in here” somehow magically transpose to real things “out there”. This is so because the police officer who lays down his life to stop the madman is, if we ask the atheist, doing that objective, actual act of laying down his objective, actual life in this objective, actual world to stop some objective, actual evil out there in the objective, actual world. The atheist does not say the police officer is laying down his life to stop a Fairy Tale.


Atheists don’t believe in Fairy Tales. I mean, if you ask them.

It seems that when we dissect these things Atheism really posits that our various I-Feel’s that are “in here” actually do create positive, or real, entities “out there”. They hold, atheists do, that it is not just a fairy tale we are fighting against when we they fight against some evil “out there” (say, rape, or slavery, or sex-slavery, or torturing children, etc). Or a Madman. Now, let’s follow this out:


We find that Atheists hold that evil “out there” is real and not a Fairy Tale. The parents in our small town up north are not angry about a Fairy Tale. That in itself tells us something. It tells us that they really do believe that they are not fighting against fairy tales, but against real evils in the real world.


This is a mammoth piece of information with enormous implications on Atheism.


Given that the Atheists have only their own “in here” of whim, of I-Feel, of psychic phosphorescence to trace all this back to, it is clear that they hold that whim, or fantasy, or I-Feels, or fairy tales held tightly “in here” somehow magically transpose to positive realities “out there”. They argue that they are fighting against real evils in the real world; not against fairy tales. In fact, they believe this so strongly that they actually have real anger against those evils they feel actually exist “out there”. And, further, they believe this so strongly that they actually lay down their real lives fighting against those evils that they feel actually exist “out there”. They (those evils out there) are as real as their own very, very real lives.

This is staggering: Whim, or fantasy, or I-Feels, or fairy tales “in here” magically transpose to positive realities “out there” and we can even live for, and die for, these fairy tales of I-Feel’s which have undergone an inexplicable metamorphosis into positive evils “out there”.

The wrongness of rape is not whim, not a fairy tale. We don’t lay down our lives for fairy tales. The wrongness of slavery is not whim, not a fairy tale. We don’t lay down our lives for fairy tales. Our parents in our small town are not angry about a Fairy Tale.

Who would live for, or die for, fairy tales?


A little further questioning may help us shed some more light on this amazing and magical metamorphosis:

Is the atheist living for a fairy tale here? Should we all be able to live for and die for Fairy Tales? Does the Mightiest Fairy Tale of all trump them all? Are we really, or for-real, or *at bottom* living in a universe where an animal who names himself homosapien insanely cries; “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the mightiest fairy tale of all?”


Having seen this much, there is something else that is even more puzzling:

An odd thing now happens: The atheists will now say in their lecture halls and internet blogs “out there” something which they clearly do not believe “in here” -- the really-real is blind, pitiless indifference. In between birth and death there is only biochemical reflex, only whim, only fantasy, only I-Feels, or fairy tales “in here” and that is, really, for-real, what the “Wrongness” is at bottom, and that is even what the “Evils” themselves are at bottom: Fairy Tales comprised of nothing more than *Whim* and *I-Feel*.


And then it again gets puzzling:

The Atheist will again reverse his stance and say (oddly) those evils are *real* and the wrongness of them is also *real*. “How real?” our children will ask us. “Well, so completely real that you can lay down your very, very real life for them. These are not fairy tales; these are real, very real evils in the very real world.”

Thus in Atheism Belief “in here” and Whim “in here” and I-Feel “in here” and Fairy tales “in here” really do, after all, create real things, actual things “out there”. This is so clearly deduced from the Atheist’s own combinations and permutations of [actions plus rhetoric] that we cannot conclude the matter in any other way. “If you believe the fairy tale, then it is true!” That is the cry of Atheism if we take atheists at their own words and their own actions.


It would go something like this:


“Fight to stop the fairy tale evil “out there” called slavery and fight that fight because of the fairy tale wrongness “out there” that is the wrongness of that slavery” as it were. “Lay down your actual, real-lives for these fairy tales” as it were.

And, if you see someone else whose own fairy tale just happens to be the Phallus and the Fist, to maximize pleasure, to inflict death, at any cost to others, well, you’ll have to either stop or kill that one, that poor deluded one who doesn’t understand “reality”. The cry of, “Can you BELIEVE that guy actually did THAT?” is really felt, really held tight “in here” about that evil act “out there” and betrays that the atheist really does think it was all *real* evil that his physical eyes just saw “out there” in front of him.

That is worth repeating: The cry of, “Can you BELIEVE that guy actually did THAT?” is really felt, really held tight “in here” about that evil act “out there” and betrays that the atheist really does think it was all *real* evil that his physical eyes just saw “out there” in front of him.


On refection here it seems this whole show leaves an unanswered question:

Why does the Atheist's fairy tales and I-Feel’s "in here" about evil magically transpose into positive reality "out there" worth dying for while the Christian's fairy tales and I-Feel’s "in here" that are about evil must remain fairy tales “in here” not worth dying for and which can never be real things “out there”?

Is not whim but whim? Is not urge but urge? Is not I-Feel but I-Feel? What has Whim and Urge and I-Feel to do with Reality, ultimately?

Does “I-Feel” create real things? But how? And why is it only the Atheist’s I-Feel’s that can pull off this magic leap of faith?


Are we really to believe the Atheist when he insists that his, the atheist’s, I-Feel’s “in here” and fairy tales “in here” about evil magically become positive evils “out there” but only he, the atheist, has the magic wand and so only his fairy tales are magic?


What does this lead us to?


At bottom the atheist is living for, and dying for, fairy tales. And the chilling part is that he seems to believe his fairy tale. That is not just inexplicable, it is bizarre. We find that Atheists hold that evil “out there” is real. That in itself tells us something. It tells us that they really do believe that they are not fighting against fairy tales, but against real evils in the real world. This is a mammoth piece of information with enormous implications on Atheism. What this means is that Atheism posits that our own various (and there are a lot of them) I-Feel’s and Fairy Tales “in here” magically create real, or positive, entities “out there”.

Atheists are not out there trying to slay fairy tales. Are they?

“All right and wrong, and in particular all ought and all ought not is purely subjective. There is no objective anything here in any of these in the world outside. It is all in our nervous system.”


Conclusion: Atheists really do believe in, live for, and die for, fairy tales that exist only “in here”. There is no objective real-thing “out there” when it comes to right, wrong, ought, and ought-not. Such things are just fairy tales reverberating within our neurons.


It’s all Fairy Tales.


Incoherency: The inexplicable part is that the Atheists really think their fairy tales “in here” somehow magically transpose to real things “out there”. This is so because the police officer who lays down his life to stop the madman is, if we ask the atheist, doing that objective, actual act of laying down his objective, actual life in this objective, actual world to stop some objective, actual evil out there in the objective, actual world. The atheist does not say the police officer is laying down his life to stop a Fairy Tale.

That is the inexplicable part. The *bizarre* part is that the Atheist really believes that he, the atheist, is the only one with the Magic Wand capable of magically transforming I-Feel’s “in here” into actual things “out there” and so only the Atheist’s Fairy Tales come true.

As Christians and as Logicians we leave all that silliness behind for in the atheist’s world there is an utter disconnect between what his Logic is telling him about both the material and the immaterial and what is Love is telling him about both the material and the immaterial. In his direction there is only incoherency in every vector whereas in the Christian’s direction we find coherency through and through as we traverse that perpetual one-way incline wherein all things lead to a Door embedded within the necessary End of ad infinitums through which both our Logic and our Love see and by which we ourselves enter into the embrace of that Life Who Himself swallows up all evils and all sins and ultimately even death itself. He opens His arms there in a Tree called Life and pours Himself out, and unto, and into the Created and fills us up with Himself and thereby In-Sufficiency meets All-Sufficiency and intolerable Light annihilates His absence.

Melinda-
Thank you for your words - they are exactly what my heart needed to hear today. He is not distant, this is why He came, He is the solution. Thanks again.

"I wish that we could all meet in person and have a nice discussion (maybe over a few beers). It would be warm and cordial...." - Jason

I propose that Jason and scbrownlhrm meet together. Jason can bring his warm, fuzzy feelings and schrownlhrm can provide his fuzzy thinking. And then they can report back to this blog their conclusions. BTW the "beers" will not be necessary to further the discussion.

TruthNotRelative,

Is 'evil' something Adam of Eden brought into the world or not?

You and Louis already have enough to know what I think.

It looks like you want to change the language away from Adam and Eden and lead us through the insulin/ice-cream apologetic.

It's a false dichotomy: The non-existence of your god doesn't necessarily make morality simply a matter of taste.

All for now,
RonH

RonH

"By 'evil', you mean the thing Adam of Eden brought?"

For the moment, I don't care about what you think the origin of evil is. I want to know if you consider the acts evil. Do you?

Question's to those that say if God were real why didn't he stop the evil that happened in CT. Isn't it evil for someone to not help someone in need? I that is the case why doesn't God make you do it? I believe we are all evil to some extent, so what evil should and shouldn't be stopped? I believe that God is justified in allowing evil until He returns and sets things straight and until then I am going to trust and have faith that whatever happens until then, that He as an infinite being is sovereign over all things.

RonH,

If you appeal to something outside your brainstem, I'd like to know what that something is. Collective Tastes? Utility? Blind indifference? Survival of the toughest Tooth & Claw? Fairy Tales that come true? I think without Immutable Semantics within that Eternal Language, all definitions become mutable over time. At least while time exists.

RonH to clarify......


What I mean is, the Immutable precedes Time, invents Time, breaks into Time, and outlasts Time.


That our necessary everlasting uncaused Free Lunch exists is self-evident by Logic's eye whether we are atheists or theists. Now, if that Lunch houses no sort of Moral Ought kind of stuff, which in all of our semantics here inside of Time links to Person, then I don't see how you can appeal to anything that really is just mutable definitions to define good and evil. Ultimately, humanity will cease to exist, so "survival" is a sinking ship if that is "evolution's good". It is, like all things, mutable. And, lots and lots of ugly things can help "us" survive.


I'm not sure what you mean when you say that outside of God there is something Immutable still. Fairy Tales just don't come true.

Louis,

What meaning of 'evil' does our question assume? The Christian meaning? The meaning you want to call 'objective'?

Do you regard all alternative meanings a 'matter of taste' or 'opinion'?

Are you running the ice-cream / insulin apologetic here?

RonH

RonH

You are more worried about my motives than you are about the nature of the the act under discussion? Why? Do you consider my motives something worse than the shooting and if so, why?

Why are you having such a hard time answering a simple question?

"The non-existence of your god doesn't necessarily make morality simply a matter of taste"


Actually, it does, as discussed or defined in my previous two posts to RonH.

Louis,

As I said, I don't know what you mean by the question.

Will you tell me?

RonH

RonH

"As I said, I don't know what you mean by the question.

Will you tell me?"

You have no human reaction to the massacre of kids? I find that hard to believe. What makes you think that we do not both react the same way and are in lock step in our emotional response to what happened? If our emotional and intellectual reactions are identical, wouldn't you say that is powerful evidence that we hold to the same view regarding the shooting that took place and having the same view, we are both operating on the same definition of "evil" at a certain emotional and intellectual level that might even be to some extent be a kind of primitive level that we both share?

Well said.

I don't know how people can function in this evil world without that reality!

When I got home Friday, my wife and I embraced before we spoke. We stood silently holding each other for a long time. Each of us knew the other would have heard this news.

I need not confirm with her that, in this long embrace, we both thought of our daughters (now 21 and 23) as first-graders and their classmates.

Then, we both thought of ourselves as parents of first graders, of the other parents we knew then, and of the wonderful teachers our girls had though the years.

Then, we both imagined this event transported into that memory. That was when our embrace tightened - both of us feeling the pain.

Finally, before we stepped back to look into each other's eyes, we thought also of the troubled young perpetrator and his pain.

Thank you Melinda, and everyone else at STR.
Thank God for the Cross and His response to evil by entering into this world and taking it all on Himself, as celebrated this month.

God bless you and may His peace reign in your hearts.

Jeff,

I listened to that Oliphant sermon you cited above. I can't say I'm too impressed. I had been under the mistaken impression that Oliphant was a professional philosopher, but after listening to this sermon it was obvious that this was not the case. I checked out his WTS page and indeed it turns out that his graduate degrees are all from Seminaries, not universities. And he is a professor of "apologetics and systematic theology," not philosophy.

Why was it obvious he wasn't a philosopher? Well, the quality of his philosophical criticisms was woefully subpar. For example, he seems to think that the logical problem of evil is wrongly named because there is no strict logical contradiction in the basic starting premises that evil exists while God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. Well no kidding! That's not what atheologians mean when they talk about the LPE.

Another example: He objects to Hitchens' criticisms of religion on the grounds that, if atheism is true, then we have no means of concluding that anything is "bad." In particular, on atheism we have no means---so Oliphant claims---of concluding that religion is bad. But, again, this response is clearly absurd. If the qualities of being poisonous, harmful, undesirable and malicious don't count towards making something bad, then what on earth is Oliphant talking about when he demands that the badness of religion be established?

Anyway, I recommend you check out Plantinga's responses to the problem of evil instead. I still disagree vehemently with Plantinga, but at least that guy actually knows what he's talking about.

A very fun experience, Ben.......Error is not bad in itself, Ben......

Ben, why do say error is not bad?

This is my first time here. Well I am a mother, and whether or not you are a parent (as it seems that some of you are) you can at least put yourself in the place of that parent who lost their child. What must it feel like? Sheer hell. Not to mention the way in which a child dies is also worse. Double the hurt. I am sorry for the man named Ron H in this discussion. He cannot seem to identify this horror as horror. An act of demonic stature. Or maybe he can.

Can anyone walk in the shoes of the parents? Can anyone even fathom the last bit of fear, pain, and despair in the lives of the children as they died?


God let His own Son die to save the world. How much did that hurt? Raised after three days, our Savior is the life saver for anyone who believes. Death has no sting. Jesus took it all.

If Mr. Ron decides not to believe then why is he here arguing? Mr. Ron, be content in your life then, but know that others tried to help you. They cared enough I suppose to help your soul. Be at peace. You have to live with your choices.
God gave free will.

I have read the ending of His-story. Where no more tears will fall, and every knee shall bow.God bless all of you.

Arlene,

Welcome to the site!

You asked why Ron H is here arguing. Well, this is an apologetics website. And of course, apologetics often involves argumentation.

I also want to mention that I don't think it's a choice for Ron to believe or not. At least I know that, in my case, I can't just decide to believe in God any more than I can just decide to believe in, say, extraterrestrial life. Instead, I need to be convinced that such things exist. Hence the apologetics.

Anyway, I hope you stay and continue to get involved in some of the discussions here. They can be quite interesting at times!

Argumentation Ben? Logic? But you tell us that Error and Logical Error are not bad.

It's hard to take your request for Truth seriously when you value in no uncertain terms quite another something.

RonH,

First, let me qualify that we all feel anger at this man who killed these people.


And at the same time I share your sense that you expressed that there is a another evil of which the shooter too had to feel the pain of or fight with or something in that arena somewhere, even if only a subtle something. Well, I mean if you call it evil. I do. I do not in saying this acquit him in any way as I am not in the know as to his mind and the victim's losses weigh on me in a way where anger lingers.

There is a Link here. that tells the story of a mother who had to deal with a violent son and how hard and even frightening it is to raise him.

Ben says: "Anyway, I recommend you check out Plantinga's responses to the problem of evil instead. I still disagree vehemently with Plantinga, but at least that guy actually knows what he's talking about."

I would encourage you to take a look at Dr. Oliphint's book Reasons for Faith: Philosophy in the Service of Theology where he deals with Plantinga in his chapter "Calvinizing Evil."

Ben, keep in mind that Dr. Oliphint is speaking at an apologetics conference that took place at a church (for the first time, might I add). This was not a class of apologists and theologians. Point being, is that he is speaking to the "average" Christian that has little knowledge of the philosophical literature out there. That being the case, I simply disagree with your take on how the LPE is stated. I believe Dr. Oliphint is spot on.

Jeff,

Thanks for the recommendation. Lucky for me, the book is available from my university library system, so I submitted a request for it. It should arrive in a few days.

In the mean time, I'm curious why you disagree about the LPE. The IEP describes the situation this way:

"None of the [four premises mentioned previously] directly contradicts any other, so if the set is logically inconsistent, it must be because we can deduce a contradiction from it. This is precisely what atheologians claim to be able to do."

Besides the above strategy, I would add that arguing for the broad logical impossibility of those premises being simultaneously true constitutes a kind of LPE, where broad logical impossibility doesn't require a direct contradiction of the form A&~A.

Anyway, I do take your point about Oliphant's intended audience. I'm not sure that's going to get him off the hook, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and check out his book.

I'm also curious to see if he presents a serious argument in the book for the existence of God. In my experience Van Tilians tend to either intentionally avoid arguing for the existence of God, or else to construct circular and/or trivial and uninteresting such arguments. The title promises "reasons for faith." I'm hoping he makes a serious attempt to deliver.

A person who tells us that Logical Error is not bad unless it ruines one of my very fun experiences just is not far enough along to ask, "What is Truth?"


Ben, you "hope to take serious...."?


Really?


Ben,

The logical problem of evil is normally stated the way Dr. Oliphint stated it. The question is, who normally states it this way, or thinks about it this way. The answer to that question is: the average "Joe atheist" and it is how average church goers would hear it.

By the way James White dealt with Responding to Evil and Suffering this past Lord's day.

Ben,

The reason Truth will remain elusive to you has to do with the truthfulness of the questioner, which in this case devalues Truth and values A Very Fun Experience (humor me for minute, it gets less harsh). Truth is, in your own words, not valuable in any Self-Evident fashion. And you ask “What is Truth”. Logical Error, or what we call a lie, is, again in your words, “bad” only if and when it happens to interfere with your Very Fun Experience. There is this: Love costs. It costs everything. And, at the end of that death of the self there is this: Joy really is the serious business of heaven. You are close to the truth of all things in your value of Joy, only, you think that is the only entity which is worthy of value. And that is the problem within the questioner here: Love will cost him what he loves most: Himself and that Self’s Very Fun Experience. I can tell you that God will insist on this loss of self to the Nth degree, and I can tell you that He will give you in return such Full and Good and Lovely things which you didn’t even think about asking.


Some things we carry through the thread of Self Evidence. If you doubt this, then we both know through Logic’s Eye that Aristotle’s Free Lunch exists. There really is an everlasting, uncreated, uncaused cause. Everybody gets that. It is just self-evident. Now, if you need convincing of the Free Lunch, you have only Logic to use, and, here we come to the heart of the matter: When Logic presents you with a Truth which is in your present Capacity only available to you via Self-Evidence, it is Logic (and Love, but that is another issue) which we already know that you do not value and especially if it will cost you your Very Fun Experience. “Self Evident” and “Logic” are in use by you even now, but with that Uncaused Cause or Free Lunch it does not cost you your Very Fun Experience and in fact it may even boost the Fun-Factor for you as you are at heart a logician. You love logic, but you love Self more. When Logic boosts your Fun-Factor you embrace it, and should a Logical-Error (a lie) boost that same Fun-Factor you have gone on record as valuing that too, because, at bottom, what you value is Self above all else.


You therefore are faced with this: Self-Evident Logical Coherency can come up to you and sit down at your side, and, should it cost you everything, you would rather the lie. Logical Error (a lie) is not bad *unless* it costs you your Very Fun Experience, as you’ve stated in the past.


“What is Truth” demands a certain *kind* of questioner should an answer ever be given not because an answer is withheld, but because though it is given, it takes a certain *kind* of person, a prepared person, to embrace it.


The God Who is Love reveals Himself along all sorts of vectors such as His Triune Fabric and inside of His Cross and even inside of all human experience whatsoever where He reveals that the Self which necessarily loves necessarily dies. I will also say this: Material's vectors and Logic and Love and the Triune Fabric of Epistemology (which you see already, only without realizing it) and the Triune Fabric of both Person and Love all bring us to the necessary End of ad infinitum, and though we cannot know infinitely as we peer through to that End, we can know meaningfully.


Hi Jeff, be prepared to experience Ben's teflon surface, as nothing sticks because of his defense of being obtuse when it suits him, like for instance his dismissal of Oliphants reason for saying that the LPE is really not illogical at all--therefore not a problem at all. If he really wanted to understand Oliphant, he would delve into why Scott's claims are made, but he just doesn't want to. The tact taken by Scott is completely orthodox with compatibilist theology, and is not novel in the least. Ben could deal with authentic Christianity, but will not. He has not in the past and it's doubtful that he will in the future, opting to slay straw men of his own making.

He'll continue to claim that Scott's the lesser philosopher than himself without really putting himself into a position where his junior varsity philosophy is easily exposed as incoherent by a varsity philosopher. Ben cannot even use the force of logic to compel us peons to see him as reasonable, even if we allow his assumed and unproven presuppositions. He, as scblhrm has alluded to, cannot even have an ultimate proposition because utility is his elastic standard, IOW, the world according to Ben.

Brad B,

That is an interesting nuance there.... all ultimate propositions eventually break down as sooner or later they shatter the Valued, which is Self, which is a very fun experience.


Like most agnostics, his philosophy sides with materialists in argumentation rather than staying on "the fence". I'm not sure what he means really by claiming to be an Immaterialist. All his philosophy is Materialistic at bottom.


I'm not sure what Ben would do, or does, with our ultimate Free Lunch, that Uncaused Cause which nobody in atheism or theism or agnosticism can present on a silver plate but which all *Know* exists by Self-Evidence, by Logic's Eye.


We can, it seems, *Know* Truth in that fashion.


Thus the futility of Agnosticism. We, even in mere materialism, *know* by Self Evidence sort of vectors things we cannot measure, see, touch, and etc. The claim that "we cannot know such things" suffers here, unless Ben is willing to claim there is no such thing at all as that Uncaused Cause and contradict Logic's Eye.

Let us add that Logic and Love bring us to the End of all ad infinitums and while not knowing infinitely we do know that Hard Stop who is that Final End of all vectors whatsoever.

Killing a few toddlers is evil enough to have the president perhaps sidestep the constitution to curtail constitutional rights but denying millions the right to live is supporting human rights?

Something wrong here.

Thank you, Melinda, for true and comforting words.

Anyone with children or anyone who has been around children (which includes everyone) quickly realizes how precious and what treasures they are. They remind each of us everyday what life is all about. So, all of us empathetically grieve and mourn with the parents and families of the victims at Newtown. They are in everyone's thoughts and prayers.

President Obama spoke at the prayer vigil and made a very astute diagnosis of the problem. He said, this tragedy reflected "the face of unconscionable EVIL." A few moments later he admittedly said, "No set of laws can eliminate EVIL from the world."

These are strange words when our culture seems to have eliminated the notions of GOOD and EVIL as general, identifiable, objective things. Yet, he clearly labels EVIL as if it were objective and identifiable by each and every one of us in characterizing this tragedy as representative of something very real.

Such a diagnosis deserves a clear definition of what EVIL is, wouldn't you think? If one knows what it is, it would follow that such knowledge would help us to understand the causes and the remedies for the problem of EVIL. Without precise definition, we may forever be sidetracked and never find the right cure. We may persist in identifying causation of such acts only in the deceptive paradigm of a sociologic, physical, mental or medical aberration to explain it. Perhaps we will focus on fewer guns or more guns, depending on your view; or on more guards, security systems and locked doors. But, those seem rather inadequate without, first, a reasonable definition of what EVIL is.

So, where does one start in the pursuit of an accurate and true definition of what is EVIL, or what is GOOD for that matter? This is certainly not a new pursuit, but we seem to have lost the ability to even know where to start in understanding the type of EVIL the President was talking about.

I don't know if we're up to this task as a peoples, but perhaps a sign or wall hanging in the hallways or classrooms of schools saying something like, "THOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER," may help, a bit, in a preventive way.

Thank you.

Evil is our enemy and our enemy is not God as His Heart is the first to grieve, the first to know and to see what we cannot yet know or see. No, He is not our enemy and within love’s multiple volitions we discover that God has not Himself set the world on fire but rather He spreads His arms wide and pours Himself out worlds without end and this He does for His beloved who He unfailingly insists is all of us. We are His beloved and He knew long before we ever could the bitter truth of this statement: “The death of the beloved is an amputation”. This Triune God renders all Solutions, ties up all Ends, and delivers all Hopes in and by Himself our Savior. He has rescued me and us and I find in the Cross’s Eternally Sacrificed Self the undoing of all of our insanities, the resolution of all questionings, the end of all ad infinitums, and the convergence of all measurable vectors whatsoever. Evil was and yet evil is no more, and this by Ransom’s Passion, which is His Cross.

Lest we forget: Evil was and yet evil is no more, and this by Ransom’s Passion. C.S. Lewis wrote in his book “A Grief Observed” this reflection about the loss of his loved one: “The death of the beloved is an amputation.” The more I think about these evils the more I’m driven to Christ’s Cross. There we find Word preceding Corporeal and on that Hill we find concrete evil and evil incarnate, and not only evil but also concrete sin and sin incarnate, and not only sin but also concrete justice and justice incarnate, and not only justice but also concrete mercy and mercy incarnate, and not only mercy but also concrete love and love incarnate, and not only love but also concrete restoration and restoration incarnate and all of these we find wrapped up inside of pain and death known from within by our God whose very Being is an infinite Love. In Him and in Love’s Cross I find that golden thread which when pulled upon begins to do what none of the other threads have ever done.

Timothy C Gleeson,

perhaps a sign or wall hanging in the hallways or classrooms of schools saying something like, "THOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER," may help, a bit, in a preventive way.

Sounds good to me. I need that 'something like' part, though.

RonH

RonH,

.... we've yet to hear an answer to Louis' question about "evil" and mass murder in general. Lot's of ugly, ugly things can futher the common good of the species. It seems some things make nonsense of all our felt, and expressed, 'in-here' fairy tales. I mean, well, Brainstem.... Other/Outer.. Sinking ship and all that..... Ugly things seem to be, in the end, quite helpful to us as a species.

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