Registered: Dec 1999
Location: "Children are a gift from God, they are a reward"
"1) If god is Omnipotent, then there is nothing that is logically possible that is outside god's power.
2) It is logically possible that there be created a universe in which humanity can have free will and in which it is impossible for evil* to exist.
3) God is Omnipotent
4) Therefore, it is within god's power to create a universe in which humanity can have free will and in which it is impossible for evil* to exist. (From 1,2,3)
5) If (4), then god is not powerless to stop evil*.
6) Evil* exists.
7) If evil* exists, then either god is powerless to stop it or god wills it.
8) God wills evil* (From 5,6,7).
* Let us define "evil" as: An unnecessary instance of pain and suffering, such as a solitary baby doe wandering into a lava floe.
I'll try to reply to this and stay on target. The argument is good, if you assume that God's intention was to create a world without evil. This is the same argument the guys from XTC were making, ie. if there were a God why would he let there be pain. I believe that would not be fulfilling for him or us. #2 is impossible. If you remove the possibility of evil, you also remove the act of free will. Free will implies that there is a choice available. If there is no evil only good, there is no choice. What free will would we have, ability to choose our own color of clothes?
What we received from God was a world of possibilities. We have the gift of choice. That is the most important thing we could get. A world with no pain, evil or heartache sounds dandy at first glance, but it also sounds incredibly stifling (because there would be no challenges). Remove our ability to choose and we become automata, robots. God gives us a moral code to live by and they freedom to do as we please. He wants us to choose to live well, but he gives us the chance to choose for ourselves. He wants us to love him, but he wants us to do it of our own free will. God can stop evil (check the Bible for numerous times Jesus, or God, stays the hand of Satan.). Part of being human is meeting challenges, and overcoming them.
This directly applies to parenting our children as well. If you totally remove your children from all harm, they may be safe, but they will also be unable to fend for themselves (physically, mentally, or morally). God wants us to learn what is right and do it of our own free will. In a world with out harm we would grow lazy and not appreciate what good things we have.
"That may be why atheists (and agnostics to a degree) worry the religious. Without a moral code that has been agreen upon by a bunch of people, who know what wild things they might decide is moral. I've met quite a few 'atheists' that didn't bother to stop and think about God, they just wanted a self-serving moral code (that was anything but)."
Exactly, a great case is the sad fate of Madelyn(?) O'Hare, titular spokeswoman for the atheist cause here in the US.
Moral anarchy is not a good thing. While I believe that you can't really legislate morality successfully, I do believe that you can instill it into people by sharing it and letting them come into of their own free will.
Who would you respect more, a German(non-Jew) living in Berlin who hid Jews during the war (at the risk of certain death if caught, or a hermit who removes himself from the world and causes no harm to any other living creature? Both are worthy of admiration, but which one puts more on the line?
Finally, Yorick asked:
"I thought the Romans killed Christ.
Or am I splitting hairs?"
Roman soldiers put him to death, at the command from Pontius Pilate at the behest of the Jewish priests, who considered Jesus to be a dangerous heretic and radical. Left to themselves the Romans wouldn't have killed him. The Jews demanded it because they said he broke Jewish law.
"I am a debtor both to Greeks and to Barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish."