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About omnibenevolence...

#1Lord_IchmaelPosted 9/17/2013 12:52:29 PM
When people bring up either bad recent events or morally questionable things God/Allah/etc. did in their respective holy books to argue against an omnibenevolent god, apologists say "God is all-loving, so it must be right. How do you know he isn't? Are you taking the moral high ground?" I've gotten the impression that this is a flawed argument. A god's omnibenevolence should be clear from his/its actions, rather than simply by demanding you believe it, shouldn't it? In other words, "God is omnibenevolent, therefore everything he does is right" is backwards. It should be "Everything God does is right, therefore He is omnibenevolent". Actions speak louder than words. How does that work? Thoughts?
#2OrangeWizardPosted 9/17/2013 1:00:54 PM
To Hitler, it would be an action of an omnibenevolent God to kill all the jews.

People have different ideas about what is "right". What is "right" to you isn't necessarily "right" to someone else.
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#3Hustle KongPosted 9/17/2013 1:00:58 PM
The trouble there is that we are dealing with incomplete information. The most we can say is that God appears to do harm based on our particular perspective, while knowing that this may not be correct.
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#4JonWood007Posted 9/17/2013 1:56:49 PM
Well, personally, I think the minimization of harm is probably the basis for morality....everything else seems highly arbitrary and pointless.

While God's omnibenevolence doesn't mean in and of itself that he will always do the right thing...I mean, he could be incapable of doing so, or of limited knowledge, but when you throw in other omni characteristics, it causes a lot of problems.

Here's the big problem with just assuming God is moral no matter what you do. It's the basis for so many crimes against humanity. The nazis were only following orders after all, weren't they? When someone demands you just accept something not only without proof, but in the face of contradictory evidence, you have a much higher likelihood that they're trying to scam you or take advantage of you somehow than it actually being true.
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#5Moorish_IdolPosted 9/17/2013 2:02:42 PM
Two Godwins in four posts. Well done.
#6CoyoteTheGreatPosted 9/17/2013 5:41:00 PM
Hustle Kong posted...
The trouble there is that we are dealing with incomplete information. The most we can say is that God appears to do harm based on our particular perspective, while knowing that this may not be correct.


When you add the absoluteness of omni to something though, it seems like it should be able to cut through our different perspectives no matter what. There should be no possible way that we could even comprehend the ability of a omnibenevolent being doing harm. Omni-anything is a sucky and problematic term. I think they only really result in oneupsmanship rather than having any legitimate theological backing. "My god can lift a mountain!" "Oh yeah? Well my God is Omnistronk! He can lift anything!". A being that doesn't have limitations isn't interesting and can't be related to anyways.
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#7JonWood007Posted 9/17/2013 6:08:35 PM(edited)
Moorish_Idol posted...
Two Godwins in four posts. Well done.


The Bible describes genocide. Nazis committed genocide. Seems like a legit comparison to me.

When you add the absoluteness of omni to something though, it seems like it should be able to cut through our different perspectives no matter what. There should be no possible way that we could even comprehend the ability of a omnibenevolent being doing harm. Omni-anything is a sucky and problematic term. I think they only really result in oneupsmanship rather than having any legitimate theological backing. "My god can lift a mountain!" "Oh yeah? Well my God is Omnistronk! He can lift anything!". A being that doesn't have limitations isn't interesting and can't be related to anyways.


Yeah. That's what I've been trying to say for 10 topics now. When omni characteristics come into play, you're basically shooting yourself in the foot. This is why the whole problem of evil is such an effective argument against God....as is the idea of free will vs omniscience....it's a lot like that one commercial on tv where they say "it makes sense if you don't think about it"....that's basically how a lot of religious concepts work. They make sense if you don't think about them closely, but if you really attempt to think them through they completely fall apart....either that or you drive yourself insane trying to think them through only to make your mind practically BSOD.

Anyway, I know a lot of people then try to redefine the omni characteristics to avoid such problems...but then they're not really omni characteristics any more. How can you say God can do/know/etc. everything if there are exceptions to the rule? To continue claiming omni characteristics, you basically have to move the goal posts, which is a fallacy.
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#8Hustle KongPosted 9/17/2013 6:50:38 PM
Omni-anything is a sucky and problematic term.


Agreed. I don't think they should be used, myself.
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Shooting Game never die.
It prays that the clover of luck be always in your mind.
#9Lord_Ichmael(Topic Creator)Posted 9/17/2013 8:07:39 PM
Coyote and Jon say my viewpoints well. At the very least, why couldn't an omnibenevolent God be so kind as to explain what makes its decisions right (other than circular logic)?

Also, it's amusing how the Nazis were invoked for both viewpoints of this argument...
#10OrangeWizardPosted 9/17/2013 9:28:47 PM
JonWood007 posted...

This is why the whole problem of evil is such an effective argument against God....

Except that it isn't. Counter-arguments exist, and you've yet to answer to the ones I've given you, so...

as is the idea of free will vs omniscience....it's a lot like that one commercial on tv where they say "it makes sense if you don't think about it"....that's basically how a lot of religious concepts work. They make sense if you don't think about them closely, but if you really attempt to think them through they completely fall apart....


I am reminded of this cartoon where a man is looking at a mural on a wall, and it's all sunny and happy, and next to him, there is a man standing on a stack of books, representing his knowledge. He can see higher up the wall than the other person can, and from his viewpoint, it's all bleak and ruined.

Then, there is a man standing on an even taller stack of books, and he sees over the wall completely, and, look, it's nice and sunny again.

Take care that you aren't that second man. Don't think you can just stop educating yourself even though your viewpoint isn't what it was before.


Anyway, I know a lot of people then try to redefine the omni characteristics to avoid such problems...but then they're not really omni characteristics any more. How can you say God can do/know/etc. everything if there are exceptions to the rule?


Don't make a strawman.
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