:eek::eek:Are you *sure *you’re a Catholic?:eek::eek:
No, Plato isn’t a Catholic
**I don’t necessarily believe that God is real **or condemn you for thinking that he is not real, but the religions that exist because of faith in him give us the culture and order necessary for society to function properly and morally.
So maybe the easiest answer is that God doesn’t exist. It makes a much prettier story to say that he loves us and just wants us to choose for ourselves.
The problem I have with your logic is that it doesn’t take into account the free will of EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO AGREED WITH HITLER AND PERPETRATED THE HOLOCAUST. So should God destroy free will altogether?
-I hit the limit for post length, so I wasn’t able to quote your whole post.
Thanks for respecting my sincerity in asking the question. You raise some really interesting points and I actually agree with almost everything you said.
I am surprised it took this long for someone to mention Satan as a possible explanation. However, I think you are correct in finding this answer unsatisfactory. You still have to ask why God would have allowed Satan to be so powerful. Certainly God allowing Satan to have free will does not require God to make Satan omnipotent and let him basically control the universe instead of God. Similarly, there are some things that are physically impossible for humans to do, but this does not mean that we have no free will. So if the Holocaust was Satan’s doing, there’d still be the important question of why God allowed Satan to be so powerful.
You’re completely right that if we know that God told us all we need to do is love God and love our neighbors, then “questioning God’s motive seems pointless.” The problem is that I don’t think we know this. We all reach our own conclusions about the veracity of the account presented in the Bible, and I think that the supernatural elements of it are false. However, if you believe that the Catholic God exists with 100% certainty, then I agree that no evidence that seems to contradict Catholicism should shake your faith. In fact, if you are actually 100% sure Catholicism is correct, then even if the Hindu Gods came down and talked with you and performed miracles for you, you would still believe in Catholicism. If you think that the evidence for the truth of the Bible is so strong that no evidence could call your beliefs into question, then the problem of evil is obviously not a problem for you. However, for people who aren’t absolutely certain, the problem of evil is important because if you think it is more likely that the Bible is false then that a loving God would have allowed a given evil, you have reason to reject Christianity.
I am not saying that “to believe in a God which permits atrocities is atrocious.” All I am saying is that if God is conceived of as an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent being, and there is unnecessary evil in the world that he could prevent and doesn’t, there must be some problem with the conception of God. I agree with you that the ways of God could be beyond our comprehension. However, since God is omnipotent, he should be able to overcome any obstacles that could prevent him from reducing the amount of unnecessary evil in the world. Also, if you argue that God may have unexplained reasons, then even if he designed the world to inflict as much unnecessary suffering as possible, this would not be seen as evidence against the existence of an omnibenevolent God. An evil God could have created the Bible to deceive the world into believing he is good, while setting things up to maximize unnecessary suffering. In this case, you would still believe that God is good if you accept the unknowable reasons argument. So I think you really open a can of worms if you try to argue that it merely appears that God is contradictory and that he simply has an unknown reason for all of his contradictions.
I don’t buy your argument that human beings exist to choose God. If a perfect God exists, then he would have done a much better job of getting people to choose him. I know that my lack of belief is not due to choosing Satan or “myself”. I certainly can’t demonstrate that to you, but my lack of belief has nothing to do with following Satan or not wanting to live by God’s rules. All God would have to do to convince me to choose him is to tell me he exists, or give me some information that makes me think he probably exists. I understand that if you feel certain that God exists, there is not point to putting him to the test, but for someone who thinks there is not much more evidence for God then there is for invisible pink unicorns, they need some way of figuring out the truth.
I definitely respect your position. As I explained in my previous post (a book length response to GoodKingW), if you find the arguments for the existence of God more compelling then the arguments for the nonexistence of God, you should believe in God. I just don’t find the arguments for God’s existence particularly compelling, but that’s a thread for another day. Of the miracle claims I have researched so far, all seem to have reasonable natural explanations. In the case of some miracle claims, the natural explanation does not reconcile all the purported “facts”, but instead gives reasons why certain aspects of the story might have been grossly misreported. I won’t respond to prophecy since you don’t cite anything specific, but I’ll try to start threads at some point about some of the major arguments and why I find them unconvincing and I hope we can discuss some of them in more depth at that point.
You got me.
I was actually debating about whether I should call it “Why didn’t God make Hitler a better painter?” or “Why didn’t God give Hitler more artistic talent?” Although I realize that the latter is a more accurate title, I went with the former because I thought it might attract more attention and thus stimulate more interesting discussions. As I found out from Chicago Bears’ idiotic trolling thread from a couple days ago (since deleted), if you give something an inflammatory title, you get a lot of attention.
The substance of my posts hopefully makes clear that I am talking about why God didn’t endow him with greater natural artistic talent, not with why Hitler didn’t become a better painter. Sometimes our natural abilities, or lack thereof, limit what we’re able to do. For example, I’m sure there are some people less than 5 feet tall who would love to play in the NBA. However, no matter how much they practice and no matter how hard they work, they will never play in the NBA. Hitler tried hard to become a professional artist, but despite his efforts, his work was very mediocre (average high school art show type of stuff).
I actually disagree with you. You could say that some of my choices might have led me to reject Catholicism, but I do not think that I am able to choose whether or not to believe in Catholicism. I am just not able to trick my brain into truly believing something when reason tells me it’s false. I gave an example in a previous post that demonstrates this point:
Or God could have created him with more talent. I really don’t see why God would have had to interfere with his free will.
I don’t think that doctors are necessarily superior. If God exists, he probably intends some of us to become painters and others to become doctors. Why do I think murder is wrong? Because every single ethical system that I think has any chance of being correct says that murder is wrong. Even if you aren’t able to pin down with absolute certainty whether every single action is moral or immoral, it is pretty obvious that murder is wrong. With beliefs like that, I’m just glad you don’t know where any of us live.
I am an Art Historian - his paintings weren’t half bad. I have had enough studio art to know that. Again, they weren’t good enough for the Academy in Vienna. Well, you do think the level of his artistic ability is relevant, because you want to know why God didn’t make him a better painter.
I don’t need a brief explanation of any part of Hitler’s life. You assume a lot. I have read plenty about Hitler. I have enough books about him on my bookshelves and about Nazi Germany. I also read a lot at WWII and the Nazis.
Besides, you don’t believe in God, so why do you think it would have been any different?
I will pray for you.
Yes, this is theoretically possible. However, if you really examine Hitler’s life and see how many unlikely things had to happen to put Hitler in the right place at the right time to do his acts of evil, it seems extraordinarily unlikely that he would have been in a similar situation if he had first become a successful artist. So if you already believe with absolute certainty that God exists, then you are justified in believing that God must not have been able to prevent Hitler. However, if you are not 100% certain, then you have to consider the plausibility of this against the plausibility that the Bible is false. Although it certainly doesn’t prove with certainty that God does not exist, I think the Hitler example is a fairly strong argument for his non-existence.
Certainly everyone who helped Hitler perpetrate the Holocaust bears moral culpability. My point was that despite everything, God had an easy way to prevent the Holocaust without denying anyone’s free will.
My point was that as long as his paintings are bad enough that it’s clear he wouldn’t be good enough for the Academy in Vienna no matter how much he practiced, it doesn’t matter exactly how bad they were. I have read a decent amount about Hitler, but I do not claim to be a true expert. If you think my interpretation of his life is wrong, I’d be interested in hearing why. Things happened in a way that seems reasonable if God does not exist. But if God exists, it seems very surprising that he could not have figured out some way to avoid such extreme suffering.
I saw this and laughed… partially because despite what you think, it might be somewhat true… not matter how absurd it sounds. Little things can lead to great destructions later on in life.
Being rejected at Art School may have sent hitler on his path into WWII.
He may have given up(which is where his free will comes into it) on art and then decided to follow his political ambitions, which later lead to leading the Nazi party and taking over germany, a little later on leading to WWII.
You know, I thought WWII might really not have happened had hitler not given up on being an artist… but we’ll never know ay?
This may all have happened because some stuffy dean, who may have been Jewish(his initial dislike of the race must have come from somewhere) refused his acceptance because of an average painting. Hitler gave up and freely choose to enter the Political relm, and slowly by slowly his free choice to Give up on art affected him and warped him somehow, perhaps by proudly thinking it was other peoples fault he wasn’t accepted. The human psyche can be facinating sometimes.
Except the Gift of Free will is not “free unconditional will”, the gift comes with a condition that our choices will affect each other either positivly or negativly. We live in a world of 6 billion people all with some degree of Free Choices that will affect the path of the world.
You see Hitler had free choice, but so did the person who was deciding upon the acceptance of Hitler. That person choose freely that Hitler wasn’t suitable to be a student. Hitler was defeated, and then freely choose to give up on persuing Art.
So even though it was hitler’s choice to be an artist, it was also the dean’s choice not to accept Hitler’s application, and in light of that situation it was Hitler’s new free choice to give up on art… For God to clear the way to make hitler an artist would have denied the Dean’s free choice not to allow acceptance into the school.
Our choices affect each other.
Thanks for responding.
But how do you know that even if Hitler were not there, another would not have risen up in his place, especially given that so many were so willing to give an ear to his crazy message? Have you ever thought of that? And then you might argue, “why didn’t God change that person.” And we could go in circles until at some point, God will have violated the free will of everyone involved.
So is that really your solution - have a God Who violates free will at every curve and turn in history, just to make this a perfect world?
I disagree, the context in it’s entirety is a question, and a valid one.
Hitler’s choice was painting, the ball is not in Hitler’s park at this point. The request and granting at this point would have been benign, but the next choice would have been critical. Remember we are told that God grants and refuses requests for our own benefit and for others. The world and Hitler had everything to gain by the granting of the request, if not by effecting another spin in the random process, of giving destiny at least another shot at throwing off the force of inevitability as one would redirecting a comet.
But who’s to say. Perhaps there was something deficient in Hitler’s spiritual state, placing him less favored for preventive graces even at the risk we know of.
In this whole fiasco, my heart goes out to his mother. What a burden this mild mannered woman must have felt. First having to submit to a tyrant husband and watch has he distance himself from his son, and hear the stories of how the school children were indoctrinating him into anti semetic hatred, while she was literally a terrorized slave to his demands. Perhaps a more solid religious grounding by her would have made him a better person, but it’s hard to say the father would have permitted it. After going through all this and evil influences up until his youth, what does he choose as a career? another Ghengis Khan?, no he chooses to become a simple painter. So it is questionable at this point if he were even influenced by the gauntlet he passed through. Something happened at this stage.
An autobiographical such has Mein Kampf isn’t the best source of course, but the early part of the book describing his family is probably accurate.
His sketches and subjects were pretty good examples for impressionism. Better than what I can do. I attribute it’s general non-acceptance to Satan’s plan who he knew he could be steered through frustration.
Right, but if Hitler had been born with exceptional artistic talent, the dean would have freely chosen to accept him.
If he had painted people with their noses he might have had more artistic success. But what makes you think anything would have been different if he painted popular pictures. Do you think he went to war on the world as an act of artistic revenge.
Did Nero burn down Rome because he was a dissapointed artist or because he was just a bad loving person.
Yeah, I have thought of that. The way I see it though, Hitler was such an extreme case that it seems extraordinarily unlikely that someone else would have been worse. But I conceed that our knowledge is limited and it is at least possible.
Well my point was to focus on this example because it was a way God could have prevented evil without violating free will. I am not talking about God changing someone’s will.
I agree completely. But it still seems like God could have endowed Hitler with greater artistic talents and thereby prevented the Holocaust without taking away anyone’s free will.
Thanks for your response. I really liked what you had to say. The one problem I had was your use of Satan as an explanation. Earlier in this thread I talk about why I don’t think Satan is an adequate explanation:
I’d be interested in hearing what you think of this.