God and the Devil


#722

Why? Why make good and evil fight it out when He could get rid of evil. Or, better yet never create it in the first place.


#723

How else is the church going to scare the ignorant into giving it gold.


#724

In heaven too?


#725

As far back as Plotinus/Plato it was argued that evil is the absence of good–the argument Augustine presented when the question popped up in Christianity.

In the desire for knowledge of both good and evil, mankind learned that what is essentially good, can be turned and used for an evil purpose. Simply remove the good (or what conscience tells us is morally right).

Mankind’s desire was to know both good and evil–i.e., the possibilities that can exist had God not made everything good.

Perhaps the better question is, “Why does mankind want to use good for evil purposes?”


#726

All that does is beg the question of why God created creatures knowing they would perform evil actions. It also questions whether or not heaven contains evil, if free will exists in heaven. And if heaven contains no evil, and free will exists, then free will isnt the reason that evil exists. It could also be argued that God has no free will, if God is incapable if evil. And if God is capable of evil, then it must be that evil is an inherent part of God. The more you think about it, the more it just sounds like a mythological fantasy.


#727

I would also argue that more evil (absence of good) had existed in the form of disease and aging than via human action. Of course, it was probably our free will that causes leukemia, the black plague, or the next super volcano or asteroid.


#728

That question simply blames humans for everything. Surely God bears responsibility for such a perfect creation - after all, hes the one who released the wolves. Hes also the one who decided to intervene 2000 years ago. Maybe he can take a little responsibility and show himself again, like he did with Jesus, but in a modern world with video (maybe a vlog?). Then maybe we can make better choices if we dont have to rely on ancient mythology to decipher what it is that God wants from us. Otherwise, I dont need the bible to tell me that I need to be “good”. Why are some humans “evil”? Because we are mammals. Biological creatures with 100,000s of years of evolution of a neurological system designed for protecting ourselves from predators. A little mis wiring here and there or brain trauma can affect how we think.


#729

Did the Devil cause the Pittsburgh shootings?


#730

No.


#731

How do you know?


#732

There is no reason from what has been reported to suppose he is possessed. That leaves acting out of evil. As far back as Plato and the ancient Greeks (later picked up by Augustine), evil acts were thought to be generated by ignorance. That is why evil was said to be, not an entity or substance in and of itself, but an absence of good/knowledge (much like darkness is described as an absence of light).


#733

Doesn’t the Devil make people do evil things?


#734

According to people who have been possessed, they had to give their consent to the possession.

In Judaism, the devil (or Satan) is thought of more as an adversary or a prosecuting attorney–a tester. So, according to Judaism, he has no power to force people to act against their will.


#735

Whenever I think about God and the Devil, I think about the Grand Inquisitor chapter to the Brothers Karamazov.

But it has been so long that I don’t remember what it has to say about either God or the Devil–but I believe it had to do with a powerful figure’s critical analysis of Jesus’s decisions about Satan’s three temptations.

I read the book twice, and I think that it made me sick both times. In any case, I rarely get sick, but I became sick both times I read that book.

Still, I think that it is one of the best books I’ve ever read, despite my horrible memory.


#736

Good is just the absence of evil. Well, my work is done here!


#737

I share this sentiment. The good ole existential nausea.


#738

She’s pointing out that’s what Plato and the Greeks said, not what religious folks say.


#739

Shes repeatedly used that as an argument in response. If she doesnt believe that evil is the absence of good she hasn’t said so. I believe she mentioned thomas Aquinos saying the same thing the last time the question was brought up


#740

I don’t buy that as an explanation of evil; that it is merely the absence of good. Disease is not merely the absence of health, but can be brought on by a host of active agents from viruses to bacteria. Evil is not simply the lack of good in all cases; sometimes there are active agents engaging evil acts. One doesn’t not merely not love someone while hugging them repeatedly with a knife until the lack of skin cohesion kept all the blood from leaking out.

Of course that opens up the can of worms that when the bible says God created all things created, that evil is included.


#741

Those are good points. Evil isnt a nothing/vacuum.