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Did God cause the earthquake in Haiti?

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Bodies lie in the rubble along Delmas road the day after an earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010. A 7.0-magnitude earthquake, the largest ever recorded in the area, rocked Haiti on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jorge Cruz)

Charlotte Spirituality & Health Examiner, Allen Bethea had this report about this weeks Haiti earthquake:

On Tuesday, January 12, 2009, the nation of Haiti was devastated by a earthquake of magnitude 7.0.

The US Geological Survey website is reporting  the location of the quake as:

    * 15 km (10 miles) SW of PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti

    * 140 km (90 miles) E of Les Cayes, Haiti

    * 145 km (90 miles) WNW of Barahona, Dominican Republic

    * 1140 km (710 miles) SE of Miami, Florida

MSNBC is reporting over 3 million people are affected by the quake. Thousands of homes and other structures are damaged. The American Red Cross is has already released $200,000 in aid to Haiti. Those in the Charlotte area can go to the American Red Cross Greater Carolinas website, ,www.redcrosshelps.org and make a donation towards Haitian relief.

For Allen’s full story please visit his link.  LINK

Evil calamities hit the regions wherever you live.

Evil calamities impact all of us in some way. Calamities hit all areas no matter where you live. The islands regions are faced with hurricanes and earthquakes, California has earthquakes and forest fires. Where I live in West Virginia, we face forest fires and floods each year.

When calamities occur, many are drawn to question their faith. But I have noticed that more questions come from those that have not experienced the calamity first hand, but rather from the outside onlookers. Those that have lived through the calamity and believe in God, rely upon that faith to pull them through.

Nonetheless, we must consider the questions posed by those that raise them. Some of these are very good questions that must be dealt with. One question which we always hear just after a calamity, is did God cause this evil to come about? An atheist puts it another way and asks, “If there is a God, why is there evil?” This is asked by the skeptic, not to understand so much, but to express what they see as a loophole in theology. I would like to look at this problem and see if this is only a problem for a believer.

First we need to answer the question as posed in the title of the article.

Did God cause the earthquake? Does God cause any evil?

Answer: Some would answer yes, God causes all things, while others answer God was not the first cause, but the second cause, by allowing it to happen. God is not the cause of any evil, but it is true that God allows evil to exist.

Amos 3:6... "Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?"

God's sovereignty over the world and the fact that evil exists does cause a issue, but not only in theology, he issue rests with all systems. But as believers of Gods sovereignty, one answer is not allowed. That being, ..."God had no idea the earthquake was going to happen".

He did know it would happen and allowed it even with full power to stop it.

Theologian John Frame says,

"It would be nice to have a solution to the problem of evil, but not at any price. If the price we must pay is the very sovereignty of God, the faithful Christian must say that the price is too high. After all, it is of little importance whether any of us discovers the answer to the problem of evil. It is possible to live a long and happy and faithful life without an answer. But it is all-important that we worship the true God, the God of Scripture. Without Him, human life is worth nothing."

So however we answer this problem of evil, (POE) the answer for the Calvinist will never be that God lost control and the earthquake just happen.

We also need to look at the atheistic argument of evil. Is the POE only a problem for the believer? Many theologians have addressed this with the answer being "no, It is a problem for atheist as well". Its a problem when the atheist admits there is evil. What makes "evil", evil and what makes "good", good?

Dr. Greg Bahnsen in his book “The Biblical Worldview” (Part I-VII:10; Oct., 1991) address this problem:

Accordingly, it is crucial to the unbeliever's case against Christianity to be in a position to assert that there is evil in the world -- to point to something and have the right to evaluate it as an instance of evil. If it should be the case that nothing evil exists or ever happens -- that is, what people initially believe to be evil cannot reasonably be deemed "evil" -- then there is nothing inconsistent with Christian theology which requires an answer.

What does the unbeliever mean by "good," or by what standard does the unbeliever determine what counts as "good" (so that "evil" is accordingly defined or identified)? What are the presuppositions in terms of which the unbeliever makes any moral judgments whatsoever?

Perhaps the unbeliever takes "good" to be whatever evokes public approval. However, on that basis the statement "The vast majority of the community heartily approved of and willingly joined in the evil deed" could never make sense. The fact that a large number of people of feel a certain way does not (or should not rationally) convince anybody that this feeling (about the goodness or evil of something) is correct. Ethics does not reduce to statistics, after all. Ordinarily, people think of the goodness of something as evoking their approval -- rather than their approval constituting its goodness! Even unbelievers talk and act as though there are personal traits, actions or things which possess the property of goodness (or evil) irrespective of the attitudes or beliefs or feelings people have about those traits, actions or things.

There are even further problems with taking "good" to be whatever evokes the approval of the individual (rather than public at large). Not only does this too reduce to subjectivism, it absurdly implies that no two individuals can make identical ethical judgments. When Bill says "Helping orphans is good," he would not be saying the same thing as when Ted says "Helping orphans is good." Bill's utterance means "Helping orphans evokes Bill's approval," whereas Ted's would mean "Helping orphans evokes Ted's approval" -- which are altogether different matters. Not only would this view make it impossible for two people to make identical ethical judgments, it would likewise (absurdly) imply that a person's own ethical judgments could never be mistaken, unless he happened to misunderstand his own feelings!

The unbeliever might turn, then, to an instrumental or consequential understanding of what constitutes objective goodness (or evil). For instance, an action or trait is good if it tends to achieve a certain end, like the greatest happiness of the greatest number. The irrelevance of such a notion for making ethical determinations is that one would need to be able to rate and compare happiness, as well as to be able to calculate all of the consequences of any given action or trait. This is simply impossible for finite minds (even with the help of computers). But more devastating is the observation that good may be taken to be whatever promotes general happiness only if it is antecedently the case that generalized happiness is itself "good." Any theory of ethics which focuses on the goodness of achieving a certain end (or consequence) will make sense only if it can establish that the chosen end (or consequence) is a good one to pursue and promote. Instrumental theories of goodness eventually must address the issue of intrinsic goodness, so that they can correctly determine what their goals ought to be.

Philosophically speaking, the problem of evil turns out to be, therefore, a problem for the unbeliever himself. In order to use the argument from evil against the Christian worldview, he must first be able to show that his judgments about the existence of evil are meaningful -- which is precisely what his unbelieving worldview is unable to do.

The Biblical Worldview is available at “Always Ready” © Covenant Media Foundation, 800/553-3938

So what is evil?  It is the absence of good (God) as seen in the cute video clip that is said to be the words of Albert Einstein. See below link.

LINK

 

Comments

  • Al Cibiades 4 years ago

    No, the attribution of this silly story to Einstein is a fabrication. Nor did Einstein believe in God except as a metaphor for nature. He called the story that he did a lie.

    As for the argument that evil is the absence of God, it makes no sense since everything is under the control of an omnipotent God. Therefore, if there is an omnipotent God, all is its responsibility.

    But I don't think theosophy is a good argument against the existence of a deity, only the folly of the religious views of a deity.

  • Charleston Calvinist Examiner 4 years ago

    Hello Al,

    It seems you are enable to comprehend the point, because you don't understand how Calvinist theologians see evil. It don't matter if Einstein attributes this idea toward the God of the Bible, or a God of his own made reason. For that matter, It don't really matter if he even said the words. (but he did say them). This is why I said in the article that “it is said to be the words of Albert Einstein”.

    Einstein didn't come up with this idea Al. You can find this view of evil throughout church history. It may help to understand what sin is. Sin is not just a list of does and do nots. The does and do nots are but the end of sin. That was the point that Jesus made when he said, a man that lust after another woman has sinned in his heart.

    Smore on next post...

  • Charleston Calvinist Examiner 4 years ago

    Sin is a path away from God. In the case of the man lusting after a woman, if that lust is fulfilled, the sin did not start with its fulfillment. The sin started with a thought and the more he thinks about fulfillment of that lust, the more he removes himself from the will of a good God. God is good....leave good you have evil. Understand?

    You seem to not be able to get you mind of how this works with an omnipotent God. You may want to read the story of Job. In the book of Job, Satan needed to ask God to trouble the righteous man and bring evil into his life before Satan could do anything. Satan could not touch Job until God removed his protective hedge from around Job. That hedge is around all believers. But God removes it from all of us at times, allowing Satan to bring evil upon us. Could God stop Satan? Yes, he could stop him. But it is also clear that God allows Satan to bring evil into out lives at other times.

    More on next post...

  • Charleston Calvinist Examiner 4 years ago

    As to why God allows evil to come upon us, we can get a better by reading Ecclesiastes and understanding "life under the sun"
    Ecclesiastes 7...

    2It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.

    3Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

    4The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

    5It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.

    This is but one reason. I hope this helps.

    Peace...James

  • Charleston Calvinist Examiner 4 years ago

    As to why God allows evil to come upon us, we can get a better by reading Ecclesiastes and understanding "life under the sun"
    Ecclesiastes 7...

    2It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.

    3Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

    4The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

    5It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.

    This is but one reason. I hope this helps.

    Peace...James

  • Al Cibiades 4 years ago

    Your write:" It don't really matter if he even said the words. (but he did say them)." Really? The reason its attributed is to attempt to gain authority from someone known to be very smart. Please present your evidence that he did say these words, or retract the assertion. Its a lie.

    " you don't understand how Calvinist theologians see evil." Perhaps not, but I'm not particularly concerned since I regard theology as an exercise in overwrought fantasy. It consists of complex discussions based on nothing of substance. The Bahnsen essay in this article is an excellent example of the baseless thinking which pervades it. If I have time I'll go into it, but no realistic person would go for this rarified pap.

    By the way your use of English is really pretty poor in these posts.

  • Al Cibiades 4 years ago

    You continue:"Sin is a path away from God."
    Well, lets start with a definition of the word. It means a trasgression, doing something forbidden, in the religious context supposedly contrary to divine law. Other descriptions are acting contrary to the will of god.

    Saying its a path away from God is, as far as I'm concerned meaningless since there is no known, verifiable way that there is a path either to or from God.

    "In the case of the man lusting after a woman, if that lust is fulfilled, the sin did not start with its fulfillment. The sin started with a thought and the more he thinks about fulfillment of that lust, the more he removes himself from the will of a good God."
    How do you know that lusting after a woman is a sin? Because of biblical texts? What makes you think they aren't just the opinion of some nutty zealot 2000 years ago. Secondly, the concept is illogical since lust is a thought or feeling which is not, in itself, good or bad. Only acts have moral value. (conti

  • Al Cibiades 4 years ago

    The ethical principle of "ought implies can" obtains. One cannot control one's thoughts, only actions. Therefore declaring lust a sin is an example of the intellectual incompetence of such thought.

    As to God being good, we need to establish what that means. If God defines good, then saying he's good is meaningless tautology. If there is an external standard whose it it? The only other standard known is man. For my money, the God of the Bible is anything but good. Frankly, its simply a meaningless phrase.

    "God is good....leave good you have evil. Understand?" No. I think this is nonsense. Basing an ethical system on a mythical being whose existence isn't demonstrable is folly.

    We all know, intrinsically that what is good is what benefits people and that we like, and what is bad is what harms people and causes us distress. Evil is something very bad, but we tend to reserve it for extreme malevolence. Earthquakes are very bad, but not evil as they're impersonal.

  • Al Cibiades 4 years ago

    I've read the book of Job, which is clearly written by 2 different authors at 2 times. In fact, Job shows up God in the story, with God coming back with the thoroughly corrupt "Where were you when I created the whirlwind.." speech, failing to answer but just pulling rank. Rather a putrid performance.

    The book of Job related to the earlier notion of an intercessionary deity who would reward the good and punish the wicked. Of course, people saw through this pretty quickly, noting that the wicked weren't punished and the good not rewarded. So to keep up the myth the kleptocracy (the guys in power who use religion as mind control) dreamed up heaven and hell since you couldn't gather dispositive evidence from that. That people fall for this patent manipulation is a perpetual astonishment, but a tribute to the malleability of human minds.

    Look up theosophy. If God is creator of all than all ill and evil come from God. There's simply no way out of the argument.

  • Al Cibiades 4 years ago

    You write:"As to why God allows evil to come upon us, we can get a better by reading Ecclesiastes." Really? Well, you wouldn't know it reading the quotes you offer. The only one that makes sense is:"It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools."

    The rest have no worth in my book. Of course, I'll be happy to hear why, if you have any cogent thought, you think they do.

    The whole notion of God creating a world, including us, and then punishing us for being what he made us is either the view of a sadistic, unreasonable, tyrannical deity, or simple nonsense. If there were a benevolent omnipotence seeking to achieve an end, it would simply bring it to being, not torture millions of creatures on the way.

    The real reason for the stories is so men could control other men. Faith is important because it leaves you vulnerable to believe what your told despite its making no sense.

  • Charleston Calvinist Examiner 4 years ago

    Al, this will be in many parts. Sorry it has taken so long to get back.

    YOU WRITE: Really? The reason its attributed is to attempt to gain authority from someone known to be very smart.
    **
    You need to stay focused and not make this harder to understand than you are making it. Al, I know you are smarter than you have been acting. Slow down. Drop your zeal to crush a “stupid believer” and stay on track.

    I say again, the reason for the link to the video clip was to share the message found in the clip. I agree with the message and this same message can be found in church history for years. You and other atheists are so fearful that a “smart person” as you openly admit in your post, will be labeled a believer. The reason for your fear is that you believe that atheists have high IQs while believers are NOT THINKERS as indicated when you use the phrase “free-thinkers.”

    more....

  • Charleston Calvinist Examiner 4 years ago

    Part 2...
    As it turns out, both sides have people with low IQs, as well as people with high IQs. I can give you a list of men with high IQs that are believers. You can do the same for your side. You need to get over your feeling that you are the only one that has thought along these lines. Moreover, you need to understand maybe for the first time in your life that believers have “reasoning” and also think.

    If you are a believer, it is not based on having a high IQ or not. Just as atheism is not based on IQs. It does not mean believers do not think, or are not “FREE” to think. I have never met a believer that has not questioned their faith at some point.

    So please stay focused. Let me repeat. The video was to show my views on evil. Get it?

    MORE...

  • Charleston Calvinist Examiner 4 years ago

    PART 3..
    You said this about Calvinist theologians..
    Perhaps not, but I'm not particularly concerned since I regard theology as an exercise in overwrought fantasy. It consists of complex discussions based on nothing of substance. The Bahnsen essay in this article is an excellent example of the baseless thinking which pervades it. If I have time I'll go into it, but no realistic person would go for this rarified pap.
    **

    Here is a perfect example of not being able to stay on track. I was not trying to prove God, nor was my column. We were talking about evil. It was about the Calvinistic view of evil. Here in this post, as I try to help you understand my view of evil from a Calvinist standpoint, you launch off that theology comes from an “ exercise in overwrought fantasy.” That was not the subject at all Al. You didn't understand my views on evil, I tried to help with your understanding. Please stay on track.

    MORE...

  • Charleston Calvinist Examiner 4 years ago

    Part 4..

    YOU SAID..Well, lets start with a definition of the word. It means a trasgression, doing something forbidden, in the religious context supposedly contrary to divine law. Other descriptions are acting contrary to the will of god.
    **
    Here you were able to stay on the subject. Good job. I could add some things to this, but that wasn't to bad. I agree.
    **
    YOU SAID....Saying its a path away from God is, as far as I'm concerned meaningless since there is no known, verifiable way that there is a path either to or from God.
    **
    The Bible speaks of God's ways and man's ways. The fall of man came from man wanting his own way and following that way...his will...his own path away from God's will...God's path. Please understand what you posted above...”acting contrary to the will of God.” That should help you, if you drop your dogma and put what I just said together with what you said. Understand?

    MORE..

  • Charleston Calvinist Examiner 4 years ago

    PART 5..
    YOU SAID..How do you know that lusting after a woman is a sin? Because of biblical texts? What makes you think they aren't just the opinion of some nutty zealot 2000 years ago. Secondly, the concept is illogical since lust is a thought or feeling which is not, in itself, good or bad. Only acts have moral value.
    **

    You jump off track here again. The subject is my view on evil, because you didn't understand. It's not about if the Bible is true. If you would like to talk about if the Bible is true, point me to a site and I'll talk to you about it.

    But let me give you a simple answer here. Of course it's because I believe the Bible is true. I'm a believer. Believers believe the Bible is true Al. You do not. Therefore you make up an “opinion of some nutty zealot “ as a reason not to believe just to support your views. If you believe the Bible is true, it says “lusting after a woman is sin.”

    MORE...

  • Charleston Calvinist Examiner 4 years ago

    PART 6..
    I believe..

    You do not believe.

    It's that simple. Please don't think I have no reasons to believe other than the Bible, but it is the Bible that is the basis of that belief.

    Now back to the subject.

    You should be able now to understand the logic of the Cavinlistic theologian. The chief end of man is to bring glory to God. I'm not asking you to agree with this Al, but I hope you will allow the creeds to speak for me, and know that I can back this up in Scripture.

    OK..Sin nature (willingness to go away from God) found in all mankind, causes man to lust after things. Lusting after things that are against the law of God. The logic now should be clear. God has a law we are to obey. Man's sin nature wishes to take that path away from God's will. The path is sin, not just the act found at the end of the path. Understand?

    MORE...

  • Charleston Calvinist Examiner 4 years ago

    PART 7..
    YOU SAID...The ethical principle of "ought implies can" obtains. One cannot control one's thoughts, only actions. Therefore declaring lust a sin is an example of the intellectual incompetence of such thought.
    **

    You would never say this if you understood Calvinistic theology. This is pure Palagian doctrine.
    **

    YOU SAID...As to God being good, we need to establish what that means. If God defines good, then saying he's good is meaningless tautology.
    **
    Good point. I'll answer with Aquinas...

    MORE...

  • Charleston Calvinist Examiner 4 years ago

    PART 8...
    Whether God is good?

    Objection 1: It seems that to be good does not belong to God. For goodness consists in mode, species and order. But these do not seem to belong to God; since God is immense and is not ordered to anything else. Therefore to be good does not belong to God.

    Objection 2: Further, the good is what all things desire. But all things do not desire God, because all things do not know Him; and nothing is desired unless it is known. Therefore to be good does not belong to God.

    On the contrary, It is written (Lam. 3:25): "The Lord is good to them that hope in Him, to the soul that seeketh Him."

    I'll answer that, To be good belongs pre-eminently to God.

  • Charleston Calvinist Examiner 4 years ago

    PART 9...
    For a thing is good according to it's desirability. Now everything seeks after its own perfection; and the perfection and form of an effect consists in a certain likeness to the agent, since every agent makes its like; and hence the agent itself is desirable and has the nature of good. For the very thing which is desirable in it is the participation of its likeness. Therefore, since God is the first effective cause of all things, it is manifest that the aspect of good and of desirableness belong to Him; and hence Dionysius (Div. Nom. iv) attributes good to God as to the first efficient cause, saying that, God is called good "as by Whom all things subsist."

    Reply to Objection 1: To have mode, species and order belongs to the essence of caused good; but good is in God as in its cause, and hence it belongs to Him to impose mode, species and order on others; wherefore these three things are in God as in their cause.

    MORE..

  • Charleston Calvinist Examiner 4 years ago

    PART 11..
    Reply to Objection 2: All things, by desiring their own perfection, desire God Himself, inasmuch as the perfections of all things are so many similitudes of the divine being; as appears from what is said above (Q[4] , A[3]). And so of those things which desire God, some know Him as He is Himself, and this is proper to the rational creature; others know some participation of His goodness, and this belongs also to sensible knowledge; others have a natural desire without knowledge, as being directed to their ends by a higher intelligence.
    **

    YOU SAID addressing..(God is good....leave good you have evil.?)
    No. I think this is nonsense. Basing an ethical system on a mythical being whose existence isn't demonstrable is folly.

    You don't agree, this I'm sure of, for you don't believe. However, I was not asking if you agreed Al. But I was asking if you understand my doctrine and are able to follow logic? Try to stay focused.

    MORE...

  • Charleston Calvinist Examiner 4 years ago

    PART 12..

    YOU SAID..We all know, intrinsically that what is good is what benefits people and that we like, and what is bad is what harms people and causes us distress. Evil is something very bad, but we tend to reserve it for extreme malevolence. Earthquakes are very bad, but not evil as they're impersonal.
    **
    Not really Al. My children thought it was a GOOD idea to play in the street when they were younger. Because they thought so, did not make it good. A thief feels like its a good idea to take my car. I feel it is bad idea. These two opposite views do not constitute the meaning of “good.”

    MORE...

  • Charleston Calvinist Examiner 4 years ago

    PART 13...
    YOU SAID...I've read the book of Job, which is clearly written by 2 different authors at 2 times. In fact, Job shows up God in the story, with God coming back with the thoroughly corrupt "Where were you when I created the whirlwind.." speech, failing to answer but just pulling rank. Rather a putrid performance.
    **
    Whether or not Job was written by one or two people has no bearing on this subject. If you would like to talk about that, send me an email. However, you did bring up something that proves my point. God didn't answer Job. He didn't need to answer him.
    **
    YOU SAID...So to keep up the myth the kleptocracy (the guys in power who use religion as mind control) dreamed up heaven and hell since you couldn't gather dispositive evidence from that. That people fall for this patent manipulation is a perpetual astonishment, but a tribute to the malleability of human minds.

    MORE...

  • Charleston Calvinist Examiner 4 years ago

    PART 14...
    Again you want to talk about if the Bible is true. Its not the subject that we are on Al. Maybe I need to write on this.

    I used the Job story so you can UNDERSTAND that theologians have BIBLICAL support for their view of evil. You don't believe the Bible, I understand that, so you don't believe Job. HELLO...I knew that Al. But do you understand if the Bible is true that I now have Biblical support for my views?? Get it?
    **
    Look up theosophy. If God is creator of all then all ill and evil come from God. There's simply no way out of the argument.

    I do not deny this. The question is, is God the 1st cause or the 2nd?

    MORE...

  • Charleston Calvinist Examiner 4 years ago

    PART 15...
    YOU SAID.. about Ecclesiastes.... Well, you wouldn't know it reading the quotes you offer. The only one that makes sense is:"It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools."

    The rest has no worth in my book. Of course, I'll be happy to hear why, if you have any cognizant thoughts, if you think they do.
    **
    Let me help you on this and thanks for asking. What makes a good photo? All shadows? All highlights? No. The best photo has a wide range of shadows and highlights. Without the shadows we would not know we had highlights. That should help you get started, but if you need more help just ask.

    MORE...

  • Charleston Calvinist Examiner 4 years ago

    PART 16...last part

    YOU SAID...The whole notion of God creating a world, including us, and then punishing us for being what he made us is either the view of a sadistic, unreasonable, tyrannical deity, or simple nonsense.
    **
    God would be just if he were to take out the whole world right now. ZAP...its done. God would still be just. It is his laws we have disobeyed and he is the judge. He would have been just if he had killed all of mankind 3000 years ago before he sent his Son. It is because he has not, that we understand his long standing mercy and grace.

    Peace Jim.

  • Sheryl, Tampa Faith & Politics Examiner 4 years ago

    Food for thought, James. At least your angle is kinder and different from Pat Robertson. America is sinful enough that God should, like you said, zap all of us! We don't have room to be making vast judgmental statements, especially during a time like Haiti's need right now.

  • Sheryl, Tampa Faith & Politics Examiner 4 years ago

    (You can find me at /x-19341-Tampa-Faith--Politics-Examiner

  • Al Cibiades 4 years ago

    Hi Jim. Thanks for taking the time to respond. I many not have much time to respond for a few days, but I will.

    I do want to clear up one point. You wrote:" Al, I know you are smarter than you have been acting. Slow down. Drop your zeal to crush a “stupid believer” and stay on track."
    Well, ignoring your condescension about being smarter, I want to make it clear I am NOT someone who thinks that non-believers are "smarter" than non-believers, nor vice versa. I do think there is a tendency for those better educated to believe less, or believe in less concrete, fundamentalist ways, though its certainly not a hard and fast rule. Belief is to a very large degree an emotional issue. For people with healthy emotional makeup, however, emotion and reason can interact, and people can alter their views by constructive discussion.

    I have been critical of your writing, logic, and question your grasp of science. But I've nowhere questioned your, or other's, intellectual capacity

  • Al Cibiades 4 years ago

    I've had problems finding the time to get back to this, and I don't know that its worth going into detail. So I'll just make some brief points.
    1. All of your rationalizing and condescending hand waving about your misrepresentation of Einstein doesn't negate that you repeated a lie. That's not good, even for Christians.
    2. You try to hide behind the argument that you were merely giving a Calvinist account of sin as if this were an idle discussion within an arbitrary system, and that the validity and basis for the assertions, including the existence of a deity and the reliability of the Bible as sources of truth aren't relevant. If we were discussing the role of the Sith in Star Wars that might wash. But you're talking about the way large numbers of people regard right and wrong, govern their lives, and even treat or mistreat others. By using bogus arguments they are manipulated.

    (continued).

  • Al Cibiades 4 years ago

    2. You write that "ought implies can" is Pelagian. Its a different concept than the ability to choose without divine help. Moreover, why is that important. Its a principle of logical thought independent of whatever brand of theology you like.
    3. With regard to Aquinas, I've always regarded this sort of verbal slight of hand typical of bad thinkers. By using words in multiple ways, and flooding the reader with irrelevance we're supposed to think it makes sense. It doesn't. The logic remains. To say something is good implies an external reference.
    4. You confuse concepts if good in you example about your kids playing in the street. The intersubjective notion of good is not an individual momenetary subjective notion of good. Essentially we all see good as that which tends to benefit our community society, mankind. Every argument about good and ill come down to this, even if it starts with theology, which is merely a magical rationalization.
    (continued)

  • Al Cibiades 4 years ago

    Your notions that whatever your deity does is just and that he had no need to answer Job is the theological equivalent of might makes right. An omnipotent deity pulling rank on someone who served him, who he tortured on a whim isn't justified. To say that this deity is perhaps outside the scope of a concept of goodness and justice, is one thing. After all, we developed those concepts for judgements of human behavior. But to call it just is meaningless. In that sense an earthquake or tornado aren't just or unjust. They are simply powerful forces.