Let's talk about theodicy

edited March 2013 in Religion & Philosophy
Yep, the age-old problem of evil and its theological/philosophical resolutions. Augustine believed that it is not a created concept, is merely the absence/corruption of good, and is fundamentally a result of the Fall, while Irenaeus and John Hick believed that it is a purposely created concept and that it exists to essentially build imperfect and immature souls into the likeness of God. Other theories abound but generally build off of either of these traditional ideas, or both.

What are your thoughts?
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Comments

  • As a buddhist, even of the small 'b' persuasion, I can't really address the question as posed, and I'm not sure anything I could say on that question would resonate.

    However, I am comfortable observing that Good and Evil do exist; and further, that I doubt that many other buddhists would agree with me.  Many of them lead pretty sheltered lives.  But not all.  For sure, not all of them.
  • Unfortunately, Unka killed this thread.

    Evil can be measured (by a particular society or person) and good can be measured (by a particular society or person), but who is to build a religion or philosophy on those measurements?

    My advice? Use a small b.
  • I'm generally with Augustine on this one but while I find the philosophy of evil interesting, I also find it a bit disconnected from the visceral reality of it.  There is a general evil we all partake in, lying, stealing, lusting, etc. and then there is an evil that is less common but more twisted.  I'm not really referring to the sick F that tortures and kills people, I'm referring to the larger more seemingly orchestrated evils, political movements, company strategies, cultural features.  I can't get my mind around how the larger evils come to be without thinking of things like demons, devil, etc.
  • edited March 2013

    I'm not really referring to the sick F that tortures and kills people, I'm referring to the larger more seemingly orchestrated evils, political movements, company strategies, cultural features.  I can't get my mind around how the larger evils come to be without thinking of things like demons, devil, etc.



    I understand that you've seen some grotesque behavior.  How often does the perpetrator believe his harm is gratuitous?

    Exempting for the moment individuals so profoundly disturbed that they do not have the capacity to reason, you do not believe that these larger evils are attributable to ignorance (of the correct alternative) and error (in reasoning to a conclusion)?

    To paraphrase a sentiment from our recent history, it is not so often what we do not know that gets us into trouble, but what we do know that just is not so.

    If one imagines that a widow can have no good existence, does not it make some sort of sense to burn her?

    If one imagines that human life is a simple material phenomenon and we can improve that phenomenon by removing it from the living population the weak and generally problematic, does not it make sense to put the weak and generally problematic into ovens?

    If one imagines that the purpose of a life is to push the boundaries of sexual satisfaction and taboos, doesn't sex tourism in Thailand make a lot of sense?


    My sense is that large and profound evil routinely comes with a confidence that it is not bad at all.

  • edited March 2013
    Remember folks, there are two kinds of evil - natural and moral. The former is a bit more difficult to resolve than the latter. I'm still in limbo with regard to a competent theodicy, but I've been thinking about it a lot of late.
  • Tonto said:

    ...there are two kinds of evil - natural and moral.

    Explain?
  • MC Escher said:

    Tonto said:

    ...there are two kinds of evil - natural and moral.

    Explain?
    I meant that in the context of positing a theodicy, but if you'd like to offer your insights as to why there is no distinction that would be perfectly ok for this thread.
  • edited March 2013
    And you people thought I was gone...

    IMHO, the difference between natural evil and moral evil comes down to intent, and awareness of causality.  

    Natural:

    Children can be extremely evil viewed from the point of view that they actively seek to constantly indulge their ID.  The problem is, they aren't fully aware of the consequences of their impulsive, self-serving behavior, because they don't have enough life experience (or guidance) to understand how their actions can effect others (often negatively).

    Moral:  
    From the example above: having awareness of causality, anticipating possible negative effects of actions/decisions, and willfully pursuing them anyway. 
  • Tonto said:

    MC Escher said:

    Tonto said:

    ...there are two kinds of evil - natural and moral.

    Explain?
    I meant that in the context of positing a theodicy, but if you'd like to offer your insights as to why there is no distinction that would be perfectly ok for this thread.
    I wondered what you meant by "natural" evil.
  • edited March 2013
    MC Escher said:



    I wondered what you meant by "natural" evil.

    Ah. Ok. Sorry about that. In this context I believe it refers to human suffering not created or caused by humans themselves. Things like disease, dying, and death, as well as earthquakes and other natural disasters. In its most basic form, it could also be construed as any part of the effects of temporal entropy. In other words, 'aging' and the like.
  • So... How is that evil?


  • zukiphile said:

    My sense is that large and profound evil routinely comes with a confidence that it is not bad at all.



    I can generally get behind this but sometimes there appears to be a force behind certain movements that does not lack malicious intent.  I'll pick an example I know you've written quite a bit about... the women's lib movement.  I'll absolutely agree that most players in this movement have the best intentions, but I'll also comment that there appears to be an underpinning to this movement that is based upon lies with the goal of enslavement.

    Tonto, do you believe all creation fell with Adam and Eve?

  • MC Escher said:

    So... How is that evil?


    So,,,how is it not?
  • edited March 2013
    Tonto said:

    Yep, the age-old problem of evil and its theological/philosophical resolutions. Augustine believed that it is not a created concept, is merely the absence/corruption of good, and is fundamentally a result of the Fall, What are your thoughts?

     

    i think augustine's had more details of free will involved?

  • Tonto said:

    MC Escher said:

    So... How is that evil?


    So,,,how is it not?
    Whether you believe in God or not, disease and death are critical parts of the natural order of things.

    If you want to view death as evil: Was Hitler's death evil? Was his birth evil? Or were they simply facts of nature?



  • Tonto said:

    MC Escher said:

    So... How is that evil?


    So,,,how is it not?

    That's not an answer.


  • edited March 2013
    MC Escher said:

    That's not an answer.


    Sure it is. I've already answered the question in the context of theodicy.

    Edit - see my response to dgm.
  • jennifer said:


    i think augustine's had more details of free will involved?

    I believe so, though both appear to utilize elements of it as necessary components to their respective concepts.
  • edited March 2013
    dgm said:



    Whether you believe in God or not, disease and death are critical parts of the natural order of things.


    If you want to view death as evil: Was Hitler's death evil? Was his birth evil? Or were they simply facts of nature?

    No doubt, and this is one of the issues I have as well. However, in this context, I believe it is referring to those things I mentioned, but in the sense of where those things affect people and those people perceive it as an affliction. In essence, it doesn't matter whether it is attributable to God or nature, in that it is evil to the person being affected by it. As such, it (natural evil) exists, and if God exists, this evil must be explained in light of His omnipotence, omnibenevolence, yada yada yada. That's the argument in theodicy. It is how to reconcile such a God with man's moral imperfections as well as the inherent suffering within the natural order.
  • So you're conflating objective and subjective evil?
  • Elaborate.
  • conflating  present participle of con·flate

    Verb

    Combine two or more texts, ideas, etc. into one: "the urban crisis conflates
    a number of different economic and social issues
    ".



  • edited March 2013
    I understand what 'conflate' means. Elaborate on why you think I am doing so.
  • Tonto said:

    I understand what 'conflate' means. Elaborate on why you think I am doing so.

    I can't speak to your motives.
  • MC Escher said:





    I can't speak to your motives.

    No. But you can speak to your allegations of conflation. You can't just state that someone is doing something and then not state how it is being done when asked by that person for you to elaborate. Well, you can I suppose, but it is disingenuous.

    Before you elaborate, just know that there is no conflation. In this context, it makes little difference whether I am either maliciously shot in the kneecap by a fellow human being, or struck by lightning while walking the dog. That I might blame a man for one act and nature for the other is of little consequence.
  • How is a lightning bolt evil?



  • edited March 2013
    If you believe I stated the lightning was evil, then you also believe I stated the human being who shot me in the kneecap was evil. Either you're being deliberately obtuse or just obtuse. Hopefully the former.

    This isn't a Socratic exercise and I'm not your student. Either put forth your thoughts on the matter or kindly be on your way.
  • And you people thought I was gone...


    Racist crackah ass crackah!




    Welcome back, Crash.
  • Either put forth your thoughts on the matter or kindly be on your way.




    Why don't you have Matt explain the concept of Mens Rea to you.


  • Why don't you have Matt explain the concept of Obtusus Escherus to you.

    You're clearly not up to speed here.
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