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Passions in Poetry

The Problem of Evil

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Alle'cram
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since 02-28-2000
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Texas


25 posted 09-14-2000 04:22 AM       View Profile for Alle'cram   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alle'cram

Hi,
  I would like to comment on one aspect of your question: (Question topic disappeared)

Is God powerful enough to stop evil? Why does He allow it?

We are given a example of God's power pertaining to this very question. The example being, when He sent the flood and wiped out mankind except for those who entered the ark.  The reason for this destruction, evil ways of man. This should satisfy the question of His power and His feelings of man and (persistent) evil. One other example.. the destruction of several cities...evil ways and their refusal to turn from their evil ways.   My take and opinion.
Not A Poet
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26 posted 09-14-2000 09:27 AM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

I just stopped by for a moment to offer a pillow for Serenity's desk before she bonks her head again and makes a big ugly red bump on it  

Pete
serenity blaze
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since 02-02-2000
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27 posted 09-14-2000 09:46 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Ah...a spark of goodness shining through the dark.  Thanks, Pete.  ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz...
JP
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since 05-25-99
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28 posted 09-14-2000 12:48 PM       View Profile for JP   Email JP   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit JP's Home Page   View IP for JP

Alle'cram - by bringing the flood and destroying mankind did God truly eliminate evil?  I think it had more of an effect of treating a symptom of the disease rather than curing the disease.  God destroyed the world by flood because of man's iniquity, not to destroy evil, otherwise, there would be no evil today.

I'm just glad God killed the world before the ten commandments were published... otherwise god would have violated his own law (thou shalt not kill) and where would we be then?  Is the lawgiver above the law?  Wouldn't that entail a level of evilness?  


Yesterday is ash, tomorrow is smoke; only today does the fire burn.
JP

"Everything is your own damn fault, if you are any good." E. Hemmingway
jbouder
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since 09-18-99
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Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


29 posted 09-14-2000 01:05 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Local Reb:

I'm just surprised you can even listen to a JEDP'er without snickering after reading Keller (I admit ... I have a lower criticism bias).  

serenity:

I can see your point ... metaphysically speaking, the definition of evil can certainly be allusive.  But determining a somewhat objective standard for right and wrong is not, in my opinion, so elusive.

I think it is safe to say that most people would consider incest detestable and I doubt Genghis Khan (whom Brad mentioned) would find much joy in having his wife raped and murdered by a rival.  One question would be whether there is such a thing as an unalienable human right (do we have the right to live?  To be free?  To pursue happiness (understood by some to include the right to own private property)?  If so, then, the ethical starting point is clearly defined.  

P.S.  Stop banging your head, will ya?  

Local Reb:

quote:
Why hasn't anyone leapt to the task of defining god?


So ... you are wondering why someone isn't trying to put a being likely to be possessive of omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and eternal attributes?  

Serenity (again):

The three blind men were all wrong.    Even if your analogy doesn't quite stand (in my opinion), I think you are right ... our knowledge of a/the supreme being is sketchy and incomplete at best.  At most, we know all we need to know and nothing more.

JP:

You are touching on the issue of secondary causes ... don't have the time right now to elaborate.  I'll try a little later.

Alle'cram:

So then the forebearance of God's judgement is not indicative of His inability, but rather of mercifulness?  That, anyway, seems to be the next logical step to your line of thinking.

Later.

Jim
Ron
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30 posted 09-14-2000 02:14 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Ascribing motivations to God is impossible, but if we're going to try (and there's nothing wrong with attempting the impossible) I think we need to consider human perspective.

This is a bad analogy, but perhaps the best possible. When my oldest daughter was six and I took away her bike for a week, she was crushed. There was absolutely nothing worse I could have done to her, and a week was tantamount to eternity. Of course, six-year-olds look at the world a little differently than do adults, and time moves in a much different manner. To her, my actions were cruel and beyond understanding. But she survived the week and I'd like to think she's a better adult today because of that and similar instances.

My point, of course, is that to even partially understand divine intent we have to look with eyes a little more open than those of a six-year-old. To constrain ourselves to human life - either in terms of value or especially time - is to focus too much on the week's loss of a bike.
serenity blaze
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31 posted 09-14-2000 02:22 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Okay....serenity enters, band-aid on head...

J.  one question:  I know I am new here, and I do appreciate ya'll putting up the head-banging (old habits die hard) BUT...aren't you supposed to explain WHY you think the three blind men were all wrong?  Otherwise, we would be having, what is known in my house as a Snot Stoo argument---say Is Not...Is too...a million times real fast over and over and you will see what I mean.
jbouder
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32 posted 09-14-2000 02:42 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Serenity:

The three blind men were wrong because they misinterpreted the data available to them, jumping to one conclusion without taking greater care in their investigation.  Knowing their blindness creates certain limitations in perceiving their environment, the blind men should have done a little more “feeling around”.  If they had, none of them (I think) would have reached the conclusion that the elephant’s foot was a tree, its trunk a snake, and its tail … um … can’t remember that one.

I think this little parable is better applied to those who say, “I know”, without considering all of the available facts or (as is often the case) that there just isn’t enough data to reach a reasonable conclusion.  As far as God is concerned, Aquinas (I think successfully) demonstrated that a general knowledge of God is available to us through observation of the natural order.  Any specific knowledge of God (beyond the most general attributes) has historically been a hotly debated issue, over which much blood has been shed.  For that reason, I think it is important to consider the lesson learned from the three blind men in emphatically declaring “I know!” without considering the available data.  THAT, however, is merely my opinion.

Jim


[This message has been edited by jbouder (edited 09-14-2000).]
serenity blaze
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33 posted 09-14-2000 03:25 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Thank you Jim.  I'll be good now.  I appreciate your patience.  And, I'll be reading and bravely raising my hand and yelling "OOhhh!" occasionally.  So thanks for indulging me, as I try to learn a skill I did not accomplish in college--er, thinking.
brian madden
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ireland


34 posted 09-14-2000 04:12 PM       View Profile for brian madden   Email brian madden   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for brian madden

jbouder, you just want get me into a religious debate, wouldn't happen my friend.  

I don't think I am playing safe, take a risk... ok

what is evil? If i kill someone it is evil if I kill someone in self-defence it enters a grey area. You murder for no reason it is brutal terrible a sin, but if you have reason then it is viewed lightly. Evil could be seen as thinking impure thoughts and in certain religions it is. I don't buy the original sin story.... the idea of evil as the temptress... it is a blatant metaphor for sexual guilt on behalf of man, so don't blame Adam and Eve either. Mankind is neither good nor evil, he has the power to chose between either, God does not enter the equation he/it whatever gave us a conscience and it depends on how we chose to use it.
Ask Hitler if he thought he was evil, even Charles Manson... these are/were humans not much different from the rest of us. Evil is only a problem if we let it control us question is now "what is evil?"



  



This is the hour when the mysteries emerge
A strangeness so hard to reflect A moment so
moving goes straight to your heart" JOy divison
JP
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35 posted 09-15-2000 01:16 PM       View Profile for JP   Email JP   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit JP's Home Page   View IP for JP

First Brian then Jim...

Brian, the bible considers sin equal in the eyes of God, all sin is the same sin - violation of God's law.  It is Humankind that has placed varying degrees of badness to certain acts.  In a sense, it is humankind that has created the concept of evil in that manner, is it not?  From where I stand, I read the words "Thou shalt not kill".  Nowhere does it say "thou shalt not kill unless the guy is brandishing a weapon, or maybe he broke into your house and raped your wife..."

Jim - the three blind men and the elephant... that parable is absolutely on target in its metaphoric description of humanity.  All we do is stumble around in our blindness, feeling for clues, making hypothesis for what we feel and jumping to conclusions about what it means.  Liken Ron's 6 year old analogy to the blind men, we look at the universe with the eyes of a 6 year old and tell ourselves we are intelligent, open minded beings and when everything is said and done, we are just blind men copping a feel...


Yesterday is ash, tomorrow is smoke; only today does the fire burn.
JP

"Everything is your own damn fault, if you are any good." E. Hemmingway
brian madden
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ireland


36 posted 09-15-2000 08:02 PM       View Profile for brian madden   Email brian madden   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for brian madden

well when all else fails refer to Taoism

Taoism quotes on evil

"All in the world recognise the beautiful as beautiful.
Herein lies ugliness.
All recognise the good as good.
Herein lies evil.

How far removed from each other are "good" and "evil"?
Yet what the people are in awe of cannot be disregarded.


I treat the good as good, I also treat the evil as good.
This is true goodness".


The softest thing in the world Will overcome the hardest.Non-being can enter where there is no space". Taoist saying

jbouder
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Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


37 posted 09-15-2000 09:28 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

JP:

I agree with you on you understanding of the three blind men and the elephant parable.

But I will have to disagree with you on your understanding of "Thou shalt not kill" (the better translation from the Hebrew is "You shall not murder".  The Ten Commandments summarize the Mosaic.  Moses elaborates on them later on, defining what would become known modernly as murder (intentional and resulting from criminal negligence), voluntary and involuntary manslaugter, and justifiable and excusable homicide.  And guess what ... the punishments differ (ranging from capital punishment, to restitution or even no punishment at all).  Just thought you might like to know.  

BTW ... all sin is equally damning in orthodox Christian and Jewish tradition because the standard is a perfect one, requiring a propitiation for that sin.

Brian:

I think Taoism gives us a fairly good observation of the human condition ... even most of the more selfless acts of goodness are imperfectly good (if perfection is your standard).  What I cannot buy is the metaphysic notion that evil is good's antithesis and that one cannot exist without the other.  Of course, I could be wrong.

Ron:

I like your analogy.  In my line of work I must take great pains to anticipate and compensate for any number of obsticles.  The longer the development process (comparing a 1 yr. hotel project to a 20 year residential development project, for example), the more complicated and unpredictable the future events become.  I think this is indicative of the human condition ... in many ways we are stuck in the "now" and must discipline ourselves to think about the "then".  It is no wonder that the waters become a little murky when we begin contemplating an eternal being.

Gotta go (wife's calling).

Jim


[This message has been edited by jbouder (edited 09-15-2000).]
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