Agnostic.com

22 9

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?  Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able but not willing?  Then he is not benevolent.
Is he both able and willing?  Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither willing nor able?  then why call him God?"
-- Epicurus.

Discuss smile001.gif

By TheoryNumber37
Actions Follow Post Like

Post a comment Add Source Add Photo

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account

22 comments

Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.

4

Nice quote, but it seems to me before we discuss the goodness of god we would need to prove that he/she/it existed. What is the value in discussing the attributes of a god if we can't even know whether it exists or not?

icolan Level 7 June 22, 2018
3

Excellent quote. smile001.gif

3

What's to discuss? This is what ends the discussion - it's the "aha!" moment when a believer finally understands. If they don't, there is no hope.

3

Epicurus is spot on, and has been for some time now.

3

Can it make a rock so massive that it can not lift it?

3

I am satisfied with my conclusions concerning god(s) so it is something I do not give too much consideration too.

jlynn37 Level 8 June 21, 2018
2

Love the quote but.................god doesn't exist so there's nothing to discuss

ipdg77 Level 8 June 22, 2018

I think that was the whole point of the quote... that the whole idea of a god is ridiculous

@TheoryNumber3 Yeah I know, I was just being sarky about the discuss bit smile001.gif

@ipdg77 No offense taken. I totally agree. Things go well, god gets the credit. Things go badly, god gets a pass. Nice deal if you can pull it off.

@TheoryNumber3 That was one of the first things I remember not making sense when I was at primary school, god gets the credit for the good but takes none of the blame for the bad. How does that work then? I gave up waiting for an answer a long time ago smile001.gif

@ipdg77 I never had religion in my life and never missed it. Someone asked me once how I knew what kind of person to be without the bible. I told her I know the difference between right and wrong. I don't need a book of instructions.

2

I love the quote. From Plato's Republic, the qualifications for a god are all knowing, all powerful, and all good.

ronodokk Level 5 June 22, 2018
2

I love the quote. From Plato's Republic, the qualifications for a god are all knowing, all powerful, and all good.

ronodokk Level 5 June 22, 2018
2

This is a logical proof that an all knowing, all powerful, and all good monotheistic god cannot exist. I heard a version of this hundreds of times growing up.

Those arguing why are we trying to prove... are wholly missing the point.

2

Imaginary being can do nothing

benhmiller Level 7 June 21, 2018
2

This is fantastic. Thanks for the quote.

Eric84 Level 4 June 21, 2018

My pleasure

2

Are humans willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then we are not potent.
Are we able but not willing? Then we are not benevolent.
Are we both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Are we neither willing nor able? Then why call us Human?"
-- TheMiddleWay

There is only (supposedly) 1 God, but billions of people. That's the difference.

@rayfunrelax
"There is only (supposedly) 1 God"
Virtually every religion except the JudeoChristianIslamic faith is polytheistic so I don't see the difference. smile009.gif

@TheMiddleWay Are humans willing to prevent evil, but not able? No, we are Evil and intentionally inflict torture on others (it's custom). We are creators of hell for other beings on Earth (poultry, livestock, etc...). The Earth is Hell and we are the Demons (animal-kid torturers). Every year >50 Billion cage-raised, brutally tortured animals are butchered so that we (the Demons) can eat their burnt flesh with plant-based condiments, vegetables and spices (example hamburger, fried chicken, hot dog, duck soup, lobster, pork ribs, etc.). We are FAT Evil Demons.

@rayfunrelax I couldn't agree more. I've been a conscious vegetarian for over 20 years for that reason. People fail to connect what's on their plate with its origin. Once you make that connection you cannot, will not, continue to eat animal products, wear their skins and collect their parts as trophies

@TheoryNumber3 I am 60 and Vegan-Herbivore fit-healthy for the past 15 years. Before that I was eating only cage-free meat for about 5 years because I falsely believed I will die if I don't eat burnt meat because I am a natural omnivore - BS lie that I believed in. I switched about 10-15 years ago from being religious to agnostic (90% atheist). When I believed in god, I used to curse at it daily, now I don't (ha ha ha ha)

2

So the ways theists tend to get around this is either by saying that evil is a necessary consequence of free will and/or that God has some greater purpose that we just don't understand. One argument even claims that we are living in the greatest of all possible worlds.

The problem with all of these is firstly that most Christians then believe that there is some afterlife that will be much better than this one, and will not include all this evil. If it's possible then, why not now? It's worth asking them if they will have free will in the afterlife. If free will can exist without evil then, why not now?

As to whether God has some "higher purpose", that is a cop out. We could use the same argument for any human criminal and it wouldn't pass muster in court. Theists claim that we shouldn't judge God by human standards, but surely a god should be held to a higher standard, not a lower one!

Basically they don't have an answer for this very old problem and they just brush it aside. When framed in terms of human parents and human children, they see the obvious immorality and neglect. Any human parent that treats their children the way God supposedly treats us would be jailed for life. How do they believe such a monster exists, and then love them? There's a case of Stockholm syndrome in there too. And a lot of cognitive dissonance surely.

While not a theist explanation (that I'm aware), I've always found that extrapolating The Architects reason for the first Matrix crashing and the necessity of introducing "vulgarities" into other iterations of the Matrix as an interesting possible explanation to why god(s) made things the way they did here.

I once had a discussion about god and religion with a young very religious methodist girl who worked for me. She was quoting fantastic claims fromthe bible. So I asked her "How do you know that's true?" And she said "It's in the Bible". I said "How do you know the Bible is true?" She said "It's the Bible". Typical circular logic. I simply said "If you were raised by my parents and I was raised by yours, we'd likely be on opposite sides of this argument.

@TheoryNumber3 awesome response. Have you heard of the "outsider test for faith"? It's a formalisation of the idea that people are more skeptical of others' beliefs than they are of their own. So one should try to view their own beliefs from the perspective of an outsider, to try to trigger that same skepticism. The test is to see if the beliefs still hold under that scrutiny. Basically, if you were born into another religion, how likely is it that you would believe what you do today? I use this logic often in discussions. I haven't thought of phrasing it in the terms you did though. That's fantastic.

1

many people use this as a reason to disbelieve in a god. however, these questions do not disprove the existence of gods, just the existence of benevolent, human-involved gods. this quotation illustrates a reason to dislike a god in which one believes, not to disbelieve in any gods. the reason to disbelieve in gods is simply that there are no gods, and every single reason to think there might be a god always turns out to be as nonsensical as a reason to believe in the tooth fairy.

g

genessa Level 8 Sep 11, 2018

I understand your point but I believe the quote had more to do with questioning the inconsistencies and contradictions around the belief that god exists in the first place. The attributes with which a god is endowed can't simultaneously exist. A god that has the power to prevent evil but doesn't is in conflict with the benevolence with which that god is supposedly endowed... and is summarily dismissed with BS rationales about God's will

@TheoryNumber3 lol that is one way to see it, another way is to see it as an imperfect argument if that's what he was trying to say, since it has the loophole i mentioned.

g

1

This is one reason why I left Christianity. Pagan gods are a bit different.

1

Nice quote. I think George Carlin has explained this very well via his act.

Who doesn't love George? He plows through BS like nobody else ever could.

1

Evil is just stuff we don’t like. From a higher perspective, it might be that things are as they ought to be and as they must be.

Epicurus had a limited perspective, thinking of God in human terms.

I think the whole point is that he doesn't. And I would find it challenging to believe that things are as they ought to be. Especially now. If this is what "god" intended, he's a psychopath and a sadist.

@TheoryNumber3 What things are there about the universe that you have judged to be incorrect?

@WilliamFleming Poverty, disease, greed, racism, bullying, subjugation of women, mistreatment of animals, destruction of the environment, corruption in government, organized crime, rape, cancer, war, man's inhumanity to man, shall I continue?

@TheoryNumber3 All of those things are about competition among various life-forms or bodies, and competition is both necessary and desirable. Without a competitive environment no evolutionary progress would have ever been made. Check your birth contract and you’ll find no mention that life will be easy or fair or peaceful or abundant.

You left out such things as tsunamis, earthquakes, and strikes by asteroids.Supposedly if God exists she should prevent such things, aye? But not so fast. I lean heavily toward the idea of universal consciousness in which we all share. In this model human bodies are mere robots, unaware and expendable. Consciousness likes having a river of organisms with which to interact but the life of single organisms is of little concern. Even if some cataclysmic event wiped out all life it would be of little concern—life arises anew. A lapse of a trillion years would seem instantaneous from the perspective of consciousness itself.

No need to ask for proof since I don’t have one. It’s just an idea which resolves the issue.

@WilliamFleming With that attitude, I might as well just shoot myself in the head right now.

@TheoryNumber3 If you did, from a cosmic perspective it would be of no significance. However, your family and friends would be devastated. Please don’t do it. smile003.gif

@WilliamFleming Well you basically said that each individual is of no significance. I can't buy into that

@TheoryNumber3 It’s only because the sense of self as a separate, bodily being is an illusion. Collectively we are of great significance. The Implications of our conscious existence are absolutely staggering in their significance. That’s how I see it anyway. smile001.gif

@TheoryNumber3 As far as nature and the universe is concerned, nothing has any significance. Neither is aware of your existence and could not care any less. They just mindlessly do what they do according to the laws that govern both.

@jlynn37 I don't know.... None of us know. I like to think that we're all part of a common consciousness, although sharing a consciousness with some people doesn't appeal to me. I won't mention names. I'll just look in the direction of Washington D.C.

@TheoryNumber3 You are correct in saying that none of us know. It only takes observing reality and how the universe and nature works and functions to realize what I have stated is the best conclusion. Just my opinion of course.

@jlynn37 I feel good about that statement. We really don’t know. We have opinions, not knowledge.

There is something inexplicable and awe inspiring about consciousness and deep awareness. The fact that we know we exist gives it all meaning somehow, at least to me.

@WilliamFleming Yes, it gives each individual meaning but nature and the universe has nothing to do with it. It is our consciousnesses.

@jlynn37 But again, we are part of nature and the universe, and, as Carl Sagan said, we are all made of star stuff. So I have to contradict you on that point.

@TheoryNumber3 Be my guest my dear. You do you and I do me. I have no problem with that.

1

And if there were a God who took a more active role in each of our daily lives, would that make the God more powerful or humankind less so, because surely we would never approach an equilibrium, right?

1
HeyHiHullo Level 7 June 21, 2018

I'm glad you posted that. I have been saying for years that we live in a binary world... That you cannot have good without evil, wealth without poverty, sickness without health, and particularly, nothing without something..... which is the problem I have with the Big Bang Theory by the way

@TheoryNumber3 listen to more of Alan Watts.

@TheoryNumber3 read the 12 universal laws too, watch the Matrix trilogy.
Listen here too:

@HeyHiHullo That video was absolutely fascinating. The concept totally makes sense. The analogy to the motion picture film was stunning. I will watch it again later (without interruptions) when I have a more time . I will also look at the 12 universal laws. Thank you very much for the recommendations!!! Good stuff!

0

Didn't Lex Luthor paraphrase this in a dreadfully boring movie recently? smile001.gif

Paul4747 Level 8 June 22, 2018

I don't know... but it sounds intriguing

He did. I found it.

Lex Luthor: See, what we call God depends upon our tribe, Clark Jo, 'cause God is tribal. God takes sides. No man in the sky intervened when I was a boy to deliver me from Daddy's fist and abominations. I figured out way back if God is all-powerful, He cannot be all good.

@TheoryNumber3 And if He is all good, then He cannot be all-powerful.

0

Why ask questions about a nonexistent being?

wordywalt Level 8 June 21, 2018

For the benefit of those who believe it exists

Write Comment
You can include a link to this post in your posts and comments by including the text 'q:112439'.
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content read full disclaimer.
  • Agnostic.com is a non-profit community for atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers, skeptics and others!