Someone who believes God created even evil

[quote=ahs]They only have opinions which clash with other people’s opinions of what “justice” means, or when it applies. Empathy is completely subjective, and “justice” is meaningless without a “belief system”. Empathy doesn’t tell you right from wrong, it only gives you a “feel” for something. But someone else may not “feel” that [behaviour ‘x’] is wrong. So it means nothing as far as an objective moral standard.
[/quote]

I disagree with you. Most people share a common understanding of what they consider just treatment. By empathy, most people understand that other people feel a similar way. It’s not fair if someone steals my stuff, so it’s not fair if I steal someone else’s stuff. it’s not fair if someone injures or kills me, so it’s not fair if I injure or kill someone else. In this way shared moral standards are developed based on the common value of not doing unnecessary harm to anyone. These may not be ‘objective’ in the strictest sense, but there is a core of shared moral standards that are almost universal and do not rely upon any belief in a creator or divine being.

[quote=ahs]You can judge whether your belief system’s moral standards are good (or bad) by an objective truth…comparing them with the objective Truth of the One Who gave us a moral standard. He made it possible for us to know His Truth. All that remains is to decide whether there really is a God, or not.
[/quote]

Again I disagree with you. Throughout human history people have believed in various gods. Even today there are many religions. Assuming that a person believes in one or more of these god concepts, by what moral standards does the person decide that any god is good and worthy of worship? I cannot use the moral standards defined by the Christian God to decide if the Christian God is good. That is circular reasoning. I must use some sort of moral standards that are outside any belief system. The only alternative is to decide to follow a particular religion without concerning myself with whether or not that god is good. That would be morally unacceptable (to me) and I don’t think that this is what most religious people do.

So what you are saying is that it is wrong to steal other people’s stuff because it’s something we don’t want other people to unfairly do to us. My treatment of other people, in other words, is morally measured purely on how I want them to treat me based on how I feel towards myself. Sounds like subjective morality to me without the slightest pinch of objectivity.However, we shouldn’t steal other people’s stuff even if they don’t mind or won’t notice what is missing. That’s objective morality. It’s simply wrong to steal from other people regardless of whether they will notice and take offense or how we might feel in a similar situation. As the old saying goes: ‘What you don’t know can’t hurt you.’

PAX
:heaven:

ahs - Well, my take is that God is not evil and therefore cannot create evil - BUT, that in creating fallible beings with a knowledge of good and bad and a latitude of ‘free will’, He is indirectly linked to it. In one sense Jesus taking on the sins of humanity in His Passion and Crucifixion, emphasises both connection and amazing Love.

It is beyond the ken and authoritative remit to definitively know and critically judge the mind of God: but to study Jesus’ life and teachings is an good indicator.

There is a difference in semantics. Some see “religion” as a system of rules made up and modified by people to control people. This is what they think is to be abolished so that people can be allowed to establish their own connection with God. While this view was becoming more popular a few years ago it is also compatible with the Unitarian church. Among the first two cases that brought the prayer in school discussion to the Supreme Court was from a Unitarian family that did not want their son forced to say a prayer that wasn’t compatible with his view of God.

Agree or disagree, history does stand on your side here. The moral values of the western world came directly from Christianity’s (Catholicism’s) moral beliefs.

Some values did, other values did not. For example, in the western world, it is not currently considered morally wrong to worship Vishnu in a Hindu temple. For a great deal of the history of Christianity, such an act would have been considered morally wrong and contrary to the Ten Commandments.

Those parts of our modern morality which are derived from Christianity, tend to have their equivalents in many other world religions: You shall not kill; You shall not steal etc. The parts that are specific to Christianity have generally had a lesser impact. Special laws about Sundays are generally in decline for example.

rossum

A thing or an act does not have an innate ‘good’ or ‘evil’. Such objects are fetish and primitive people say certain ‘powers’ exists within them. This seems to be the way you look a ‘good’ and ‘evil’. ‘Good’ is a quality of either an act or a thing, like wise the contrary to good (evil) is the disposition of an act or thing. .

For we need to divide evil as we divide good, since evil is the contrary of good. And good signifies a perfection. And there are two kinds of perfection, namely, one that consists of forms or dispositions, and one that consists of activities. And we can trace everything that we employ in activities to the first kind of perfection, the employment of which is activity. And so, conversely, there are two kinds of evil: one, indeed, in the active cause itself, insofar as the cause is deprived of a form or disposition or any prerequisite of activity (e.g., blindness or crookedness of the leg is such an evil), and there is another kind of evil in the deficient act itself (e.g., if we should say that lameness is an evil). And as other things may have these two kinds of evil, so also may an intellectual nature, which acts voluntarily. And in such a nature, it is clear that disordered acts of the will have the character of moral wrong, since one is blamed and rendered culpable by voluntarily engaging in disordered acts. And intellectual creatures also suffer evil when they are deprived of forms or dispositions or anything else potentially necessary for good activity, whether the things belong to the soul or the body or external things. And such evil, in the judgment of the Catholic faith, needs to be called punishment. [Aquinas, Thomas (2003-02-20). On Evil (p. 77). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.]

If, as you suggest, there was a god who would create things and people ‘evil’ he would be a pernicious god such as the Greek and Roman gods.

JoeT

Murdering people is bad. The killing of people is an act of murder (*ratsach *in Hebrew) provided there is no just cause for intentionally taking their lives. Nowhere in the Old Testament does God directly kill or command anyone to kill without justification. If the killing of entire populations or cities of people had been committed or ordered by God, it was because of their extreme cultural wickedness. There is no OT account of God having taken the lives of innocent righteous people. In fact, God would have spared the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah if there were at least 10 (a figurative number) righteous inhabitants there. So if you’re insinuating that the Judeo-Christian God is a mass murderer, you’re greatly mistaken.

PAX
:heaven:

I strongly disagree. How many pregnant women drowned in the flood? What was God’s justification for killing those unborn children? How many of the slaughtered Egyptian first-born were babies or young children who had no responsibility at all for Pharaoh’s decision? Whole cities and tribes were slaughtered, with no orders to spare pregnant women. Midianite women who had “known” man were specifically ordered to be killed. This order would have included all the pregnant women in the captives. Again, hw does God justify killing the unborn?

There is no OT account of God having taken the lives of innocent righteous people.

False, as I have shown. Are babies and the unborn no longer “innocent” in your view? The unborn were killed. Babies were killed.

rossum

Define “innocent” in an objective sense which isn’t already part of a “belief system”. (Recall, my interlocutor rejects ALL belief systems, not just Christianity.) :wink:

The fact is, all of us are born without supernatural grace…with the “stain of original sin”, the wages of which are death. Our first parents are responsible for this fall. Thankfully, we have a merciful God who wants to give us salvation and bring us back into communion with Himself. You may see the drowning of “innocents” as something bad, but you don’t actually know if this was to their demise or not. Our existence is not merely physical…God may have done the lot of them a favor by sending their souls to Arbraham’s Bosom to await the Savior…we don’t know, I suppose.

First, I note that you have no reply to my point about the OT God killing innocent children and unborn.

I would define “innocent” in Buddhist terms, which I doubt your interlocutor would accept.

The fact is, all of us are born without supernatural grace…with the “stain of original sin”, the wages of which are death.

Not “fact” but belief. From my point of view, the “fact” is that we failed to attain enlightenment in our previous lives, and so have been born yet again. Everything that is born dies.

Our first parents are responsible for this fall.

So, we are being punished for something we didn’t do. With Buddhist karma, we are only ever punished for something we did, not for something another person did. That seems fairer to me.

Thankfully, we have a merciful God who …

We just had that discussion. The OT God kills far too many people to be considered “merciful” IMHO.

You may see the drowning of “innocents” as something bad, but you don’t actually know if this was to their demise or not. Our existence is not merely physical…God may have done the lot of them a favor by sending their souls to Arbraham’s Bosom to await the Savior…

Let’s replay that in a slightly different key:

You may see the aborting of “innocents” as something bad, but you don’t actually know if this was to their demise or not. …

Does your argument look so good now?

rossum

Judaism believes, as Isaiah states, that G-d (not humans and not Satan) is the Creator of EVERYTHING in the universe, both good and evil.

<mode=‘nitpick’>G-d is the creator of everything except Himself.

G-d is not a part of creation.

rossum

These unborn children happened to be part of unjust societies, and so they might not have been individually targeted along with the adults. In any event, you still can’t accuse God of having committed mass murder, since the immorality of this act is essentially taking or stealing what doesn’t rightfully belong to us, that being the lives of other people, by selfish motives. God simply took back what He had originally given those people who had perished. Their lives belonged to God. It is because our lives come from God, we have no moral right to take them from ourselves by committing suicide.

By the way, God sent Moses to warn Pharaoh what would happen to every first-born male in each household if he still obstinately refused to let His chosen people go. So the responsibility of restoring an equity of justice ultimately rested with him pending the consequences.

Are babies and the unborn no longer “innocent” in your view? The unborn were killed. Babies were killed.

That you may be justified when you give sentence and be without reproach when you judge. O see, in guilt was I born, a sinner was I conceived.
Psalm 51, 5

Adolph Hitler was once a baby.

PAX
:heaven:

Parents are responsible for their children. This is shown in the ritual circumcision of the Jews. The child was circumcised within the first 8 days of his life. The child received a physical mark of his membership into the community - without which both the parents and the child were shunned. Likewise humans can be considered as individuals as well as members of a community.

I would hope that you would not consider all Germans during the second world war as guilty of sin. Yet the bombs unleashed on the community fell on Nazi members as well as innocent German Catholics. Likewise those prior to the flood were judged and condemned as a community; only eight were carried across the dark waters of sin to the shores of salvation.

"[W]e should note that we can consider particular human beings in two ways: in one way as individual persons; in the second way as members of a community. And acts can belong to human beings in both ways. For example, acts that human beings do by their own choice and by their very selves belong to them as individual persons. And acts that are not done by their own choice or by their very selves but by the whole community or by the majority of the community or by the ruler of the community belong to human beings as members of the community. Just so, we say that the political community does what the ruler of the community does, as the Philosopher says.12 For we reckon such a community as if one human being, so that different human beings with different functions are united as if different members of the same natural body, as the Apostle points out in 1 Cor. 12:12 regarding members of the church. Therefore, we should consider the whole population of human beings receiving their nature from our first parent as one community, or rather as the one body of one human being. And regarding this population, we can indeed consider each human being, even Adam himself, either as an individual person or as a member of the population that originates by physical descent from one human being. [Aquinas, Thomas (2003-02-20). On Evil (pp. 196-197). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.].

Consequently, we find that God is not the first cause of evil, rather the first cause of good. Hence we must adopt St. Augustine’s definition of sin as an immoral voluntary thought, word or deed. These are acts that deform God’s will.

Hence we can conclude that sin is the willful act and not part of the human nature. Only a perverse god would condemn mankind for the nature He Himself provided us through Adam.

JoeT

That is called “collective punishment”, and it is what the North Koreans do. If one member of a family commits a crime, the entire family is sent to labour camp. Do you think that is a just way to act? I do not. If someone commits a crime, then punish them. If someone does not commit a crime then don’t punish them. Simple.

By the way, God sent Moses to warn Pharaoh what would happen to every first-born male in each household if he still obstinately refused to let His chosen people go. So the responsibility of restoring an equity of justice ultimately rested with him pending the consequences.

So punish Pharaoh. Why punish newborn babies who had no influence whatsoever on Pharaoh’s decision? It is also worth noting that God did influence Pharaoh’s decision by hardening his heart. God was more responsible than those newborn babies. Why didn’t God punish Himself?

Adolph Hitler was once a baby.

So was Jesus Christ. So was Saint Francis. So was Mother Theresa. Is “I’m going to abort my baby because he might grow up to be the next Adolph Hitler” a good argument? No, I don’t think so either.

rossum

You do. They were all guilty of original sin, and so all deserved to be punished for Adam’s sin.

Yet the bombs unleashed on the community fell on Nazi members as well as innocent German Catholics.

God was not using bombs. God was specifically targeting individuals (first born sons) or whole cities and tribes. It is generally agreed that the Allied bombing campaign, particularly the area-bombing of cities was morally dubious. Is that the kind of action you want to support your God in?

Likewise those prior to the flood were judged and condemned as a community; only eight were carried across the dark waters of sin to the shores of salvation.

That is an incredibly dangerous sentiment. It leads to “Kill all Muslims” or to Abbot Amalric’s “Kill them all, God will know His own” at Béziers. You are doing a good job here of confirming that your God did create evil.

Hence we can conclude that sin is the willful act

Which is my point. How can the unborn child of a drowned or slaughtered mother have committed any “willful act”? What willful act did those dead Egyptian first-born babies do? Your case is weak here.

rossum

Read Isaiah 45:7. Disconcerting but true. If Eve kept her hand off the apple and/or Adam wasn;t so week, we’d be in Eden and the Evil would be outside the gate. But we know how the story went.
God doesn’t want Chatty Cathi dools. Free will with the disobedient act from Eve and Adam getting us kicked out of Utopia into a world w choices of goodness or evil which God created.

But God gives us graces which should be our sufficiencies and prayers and angels and friends and priests, churches and communities. AND MOST OF ALL HE SENT JESUS TO FIX ALL THE THINGS ADAM BROKE. HALLELUJAH.

in Christs love
tweedlealice

It is not innocence that is inherent within us when we are first conceived and born, as Buddhists believe, but rather a sinful nature. Most of the children who were killed in the flood and in the cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, and Jericho, therefore, were growing up in a corrupt and depraved culture where they would have become exactly like their parents by learning how to think and behave like them. Not unlike their parents, they too would have sacrificed their own children to the gods, if they themselves hadn’t been sacrificed while still very young. The sacrificial death of children was one of the many transgressions these populations were punished for and why their culture had to be eradicated. Any human being who grows up in a lawless society which collectively condones rape and murder, for instance, will most likely develop a deformed conscience and conform to the ways of their culture. Children do in fact learn wrong things from their parents and the society they belong to as they mature. They themselves become an integral part of that culture and subsequently perpetuate it. So because of the moral irresponsibility of their parents and the depravity of their society, the children had to share the same fate regardless of whether they themselves were responsible for any wrongdoing.

Hence, the infants and young children did not suffer and die by being punished for any grave personal guilt that applied only to their parents and the majority of wicked adults for their unrighteous behavior. The infants and very young children were indeed morally neutral, not sufficiently knowing the difference between right and wrong nor being capable of committing grave transgressions. But unfortunately they were part of a society that had to be justly punished for its depraved customs and norms. Temporally they couldn’t escape the fate which the adults had brought down upon themselves by ignoring their conscience. Having to suffer the ill effects of their parents’ behavior is not the same thing as being punished for any transgressions of theirs. I can assure you that God took no delight in having to destroy entire populations, especially in having to include the children. We read in the Old Testament that neither adults nor children are punished for the transgressions of others. ‘Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin’ (Deut. 24:16); ‘The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him’ (Ezek.18:20). In any event, the suffering and death of these children by God’s ordinance would have been unjust and “hypocritical” of God if in fact they were conceived and born in a state of absolute innocence, being uninclined to sin by nature. So, as I said, there is no biblical record of God having intentionally killed any innocent and righteous people for their wicked deeds.

So punish Pharaoh. Why punish newborn babies who had no influence whatsoever on Pharaoh’s decision?

The newborn babies weren’t punished; nor were the first-born males among the livestock. :wink:

To be continued.

PAX
:heaven:

You fail to see what is actually meant by the idea of God hardening one’s heart. It doesn’t mean that God somehow influenced Pharaoh from wanting to release the Israelites from slavery as he may have contemplated after having already suffered from a few plagues. Rather it means in the negative sense that God permitted Pharaoh to remain unyielding to His command by withholding from him the influence of his efficacious grace. God directs us through our conscience which often requires that extra push we need ( a form of persuasive influence) by divine intervention to resist temptation and choose what is the right thing to do. Pharaoh, unfortunately, was obstinate in heart. He refused to be persuaded even after Egypt had been hit by several preceding plagues. In fact, because of his pride, he grew even more obstinate after each plague was sent by God. In this way too God had hardened his heart because of the plagues. Pharaoh grew more defiant and unheeding with each plague. They served to boost his ego on account of his own selfishness. We read in the Bible:

But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed them, as the Lord had said.
Ex 8:15

But Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also; neither would he let the people go.
Ex 8:32

And when Pharaoh saw that the rain, the hail, and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet more; and he hardened his heart, he and his servants.
Ex 9:34

I’m afraid that Pharaoh hardened his own heart by refusing to obey the Divine command. By saying that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, we mean that His command to let the Israelite’s go did it by challenging his pride and ego. It’s our pride and ego that keeps us from responding to the influence of God’s supernatural grace. And the more we resist, the less grace shall we receive.

Is “I’m going to abort my baby because he might grow up to be the next Adolph Hitler” a good argument? No, I don’t think so either.

My point was that we aren’t conceived and born in an absolute natural state of inherent innocence. Adam’s nature is in each and everyone of us. The fall of man recurs daily in this world that needs redemption. If we were uninclined to sin, there wouldn’t be anyone like Adolph Hitler. Neither would David have committed adultery and murder. The truth is that we possess a sinful nature, although Buddhists don’t believe in the existence of sin as either a generic state or a personal act.

PAX
:heaven:

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