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Come Reason's Apologetics Notes blog will highlight various news stories or current events and seek to explore them from a thoughtful Christian perspective. Less formal and shorter than the www.comereason.org Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Didn't God Create Evil, Too?

Many people assert that if God created everything, then He must have also created evil, too. Is this right? Is God ultimately to blame for all the suffering in the world? In this latest Come Reason podcast series, Lenny takes apart the claim that God must be the creator of evil and shows why such an objection cannot stand.

8 comments:

  1. When Hitler tries genocide on 6 million Jews, it is evil. But when God is said to commit ecocide (destroying all peoples and animals, except that statistically insignificant remnant saved on an ark), it is viewed as righteous judgment. It is an obsolete system of justice called "might makes right."

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  2. That's a pretty broad oversimplification. Let's use another example. When a man holds a woman in his house for two weeks, it's called imprisonment and evil. When a parent is said to "ground" a child by confining them to the house for two weeks, it's viewed as a righteous judgment. Is this also an obsolete system of justice? Is this "might makes right?"

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  3. Lenny, your example was convoluted because in one case it was a man holding a woman against her will and in the other it was a parent-child relationship. Also- my example was from the Bible. The Bible stories are much more horrific when it comes to morality because they were so much more uneducated back then.

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  4. Slow down, Bernie! Don't dismiss this so quickly! I'm sure in my example it is against the will of the child to be grounded for two weeks. absolutely against his or her will. My question is about the moral grounding of such actions. Does the parent have any grounds for keeping a child against her will? What is the moral principle that makes one wrong and the other right? (And by what *moral* laws are you saying that one is more horrific than another?) You are assuming morality but you've not yet offered a moral model for your assumption.

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  5. But how did you come up with consequentialism, reciprocity, and individual rights? Why should I accept those things as objectively applicable for all of humanity? Otherwise, you are simply talking about a preference, what YOU feel is good, but it isn't necessarily good for me.

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  6. RE: "But how did you come up with consequentialism, reciprocity, and individual rights?"

    It is because it works. "Do unto others as you would want them do to you." Confucius came up with that 500 years before Jesus was born. These are things that lead to peace and flourishing, and that's what morality is all about.

    Your theory of ethics is called "Divine Command Theory." God said it, so you believe it. No thinking required. Numerous problems with that.

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  7. Again, you've oversimplified many things here. First, "because it works" is a scary answer. The holocaust worked for the Nazis and slavery worked for the South. Both systems were fine until outsiders who had a different viewpoint tried to impose their views upon the systems in question. This is why pragmatism isn't seen as an answer.

    Secondly, you've gotten the quote from Confucius wrong. The passage reads "Tzu-kung asked, 'Is there a single word which can be a guide to conduct throughout one's life?' The Master said, 'It is perhaps the word "shu". Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.'" Notice two things: 1) This is the guide for all conduct and 2) The form of the principle is in the negative. "Do not impose" is not an active command, and it fits well within a Confucian theology.But it in no way appeals to self-sacrifice as Christianity does. It is a passive command. When Jesus is asked about what loving a neighbor means, he uses the illustration of the good Samaritan, who sacrificed his time his money and his comfort for another. Jesus also said things like "if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two" and "pray for those who persecute you." These go far beyond the concept of shu.

    So, tell me how your view of consequentialism, reciprocity, and individual rights works with moral questions such as whether we should extract organs from individuals who are soon to die but haven't yet. Perhaps we can take them from death row inmates? It seems to "work" that innocent people get a second chance at life while those who are to be executed anyway provide one last service to society. If there's no other guiding principle, then this is a very pragmatic solution to our organ donor problems.

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  8. Bernie, I'd like to respond to the comparison you first made between Hitler's actions during the Holocaust and God's judgment upon the earth. What Hitler did was wrong because he took something which was not his to take, the lives of other humans made in God's image. To use a popular colloquialism, in essence Hitler 'played God.' In addition, his rationale behind the extermination of millions of individuals was flawed, and thus he judged the Jews unrighteously. However, God is the creator of all life forms, and therefore He has the right to take any life if He so desires. He is not obligated to keep someone alive as long as he or she desires. However, God's actions were also justified as the flood was a righteous punishment in response to the sins his creatures had committed. Therefore, Hitler and God differ in two significant ways. First, Hitler does not have the right to take anyone's life, whereas God does have that right. Second, Hitler punished innocent people for crimes they did not commit, but God punished the earth as a result of crimes the people did commit.

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