[quote=meltzerboy]Judaism differentiates between the capacity to do evil, which we all have, and acting on that capacity in the form of evil behavior. When we resist the internal temptation to do evil, our evil capacity can instead be transformed into doing good. Further, the evil capacity we use is necessary for our survival, but when misapplied or excessively relied upon, it can lead to our own and others’ destruction. In this way, our life-affirming aggressive capacity, for example, may either be used for good or converted into evil behaviors.
So far, so good.
[quote=meltzerboy]If we lacked the free will to choose our behaviors and were designed to behave in a purely deterministic way based on our own needs, we would never be able to channel our evil capacity into good behaviors and would have no opportunity to learn to do good.
Let me see if I understand you. Do you really say that if we do not have the “freedom” to poison someone else or to stab someone else in the back or (to be pretty graphic about it) if we cannot apply electrodes to someone else’s genitals to inflict unspeakable pain to the person, then we cannot have the opportunity to learn how to do “good” to others? I sure hope you are not serious!
[quote=meltzerboy]Thus G-d leaves it up to us, not interfering in all human affairs because He wishes us to learn to control our drives and by so doing perfect our behavior. Judaism does not believe that we are born in original sin; rather, we are born with a dual capacity consisting of the capacity to do evil as well as the capacity to do good, which in itself is a blessing.
No, I disagree that the pretty much unlimited ability to inflict pain on others is a “blessing”. And I bet that all those unlucky Jews who were thrown into the gas chambers would NOT consider it a “blessing” either. As a matter of fact, Jews did put God on a trial for breaking his “covenant” with them, and came forth with a “guilty” verdict. Good for them.
[quote=markeverett49]The modern twist on the problem of evil (or POE, as it is sometimes called) is that God is seen as a moral agent. This makes POE a problem only for those who see God as a moral agent in the sense that we are moral agents. (“If I could end all suffering, I surely would, so why doesn’t God? He must not care about people as much as I do!”)
And those people express the very essence of the problem. To allow (or to bring forth) needless (gratuitous) suffering is the hallmark of an evil agent. So you say that God is not a “moral agent”? What else is he then? And evil tyrant who created some ridiculous and arbitrary rules, which must be blindly obeyed, otherwise comes an eternal punishment? This is not the best way to try to “sell” your “god” to those who have a shred of decency in them.
[quote=markeverett49]This isn’t how classical theists—a group which includes such pagans as Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas, the great medieval Muslim philosophers and Moses Maimonides—see God at all. This problem does not arise (-in this sense) for classical theists, much like the problem of other minds did not arise for classical philosophers.
It is easy to introduce a brand new “definition” and thus explain away the problem, but - somehow - it lacks credibility for those who disagree with the irrational premises.