Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

H1 Group 2 -- Law

Stephen Law on The Problem of Evil

Stephen Law says the two issues with the belief in God is the idea that "the existence of God is logically incompatible with the existence of any suffering or evil whatsoever" or the question of "why is there quite so much suffering and evil in the world?" He believes "the quantity of suffering is evidence that there is no God."

He believes that there is a scale of reasonableness to people's beliefs. The belief that there is a country called Japan is very reasonable, even though he has not seen it with his own eyes. The belief in intelligent life somewhere else in the universe is also reasonable to Law (obviously he hasn't studied much astronomy or heard Dr Klumpe teach on this matter haha). The belief in God is very unreasonable to him. Law believes the logic that theists use for arguing the existence of God are irrelevant. He thinks the design argument is no good and that free-will is also a bad explanation for evil. I disagree with Law, but à chacun le sien.

Law discusses his ideas of allowing philosophy in the school system in his blog. I thought it was very interesting. Click here ;) 

DQ: Is the belief of an all-good God as plausible as an all-evil God?
FQ: Who was the modern philosopher who discussed the problem of evil? Stephen Law

p.s. is that owen wilson? @iamtruebluee


  1. Yes, people can believe in an all good or an all evil God if they wish, I don't know where they would get the idea that an all evil God exists if they have ever read the Bible...but that's just my opinion.

    people like Law confuse me, their best argument against the existence of God is human suffering. did anyone every stop to think that maybe the bad stuff doesn't all come from God? in the Bible (which i don't mean to quote in my entire comment, but happens to be one of the STRONGEST arguments for the existence of God)says that Satan, not God, is prince of this world, although God is all powerful Satan has a certain dominion over this world and he has been allowed to tempt us, however, God said that no man will be tempted beyond what he can handle. yes, bad things happen in this world and it is becoming more and more corrupt, but these are all things that man must take in stride and have been taking in stride for thousands of years.

    so there are terrible earthquakes, fires, children die and people suffer from cancer, its called having a human body and a natural environment. things happen because our bodies are weak tectonic plates move, there's nothing we can do about that, but how can these things prove there is no God? It's human nature to blame others for bad things that happen, but can we also understand that God knows how it feels to lose a son too?

    is God completely evil because he allows bad things to happen? I don't think so, people make choices to do bad things, go places they shouldn't go and sometimes it causes harm to themselves and others, some things are simply accidents and things happen that no one should eve have to go through, but that doesn't make the "intelligent designer" inherently evil. Like Dori said in Finding Nemo, "well if you don't let anything happen to him, then nothing will ever happen to him"

    1. This view makes a lot of sense on the surface, but let me speak for a moment as a parent here. The bible (at last the New Testament) repeatedly refers to God as Our Father, and we are His Children. He loves us as children. It is clearly expressed over and over again that God has the unending unconditional love for each of us that parents have for their children. So here's my rebuttal to your argument: do you know of any parent who, if they had the power to easily stop it, would let their child be tortured, raped, beaten, stabbed, and murdered? Even if it taught your other children a valuable lesson? The answer is of course, NO. I can say that even if it would lead to my child gaining entry to an eternal afterlife of bliss (which is logically problematic in itself), I would still NEVER let any of my children suffer to that extent FOR ANY REASON. Which is not to say that I don't let my kids fall off their bikes in order to learn to be careful. I let things happen to them because experience is the best teacher, but I do everything and anything in my power to protect them from situations that would cause them great harm or death. EVERYTHING and ANYTHING. If I were omnipotent, they would all live a long life full of mostly good luck. I think this is Law's main point. God as described in the Bible simply cannot exist. So really the question is, does God exist in some other form? What about Spinoza's impersonal God of nature? That seems to fit reality a lot better.

  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFcTtkv1hP4

  3. I agree with Kait. I do not know where someone can get an idea of an evil God when someone reads the Bible. I also agree with Kait that people who do not believe in God continue to use the same argument about how there is so much suffering in the world. I do not know where people are in the world, but there is good that comes from the world. For example, the Boston bombings happened and the whole city of Boston came together for good and captured the suspect in the bombings. That was good! They gathered together in order to do justice for those who were hurt and those who were killed in the horrific accident. Everyday I think that America is so strong against any suffering that happens. I personally believe that good things come out of bad situations. Good and interesting comments on this post!

  4. Law says in one of his responses that people dying by natural disasters is a form of evil, but I cannot say I feel the same way. We all have to die somehow, and natural disasters are just another way to go. People talk about living to old age and dying naturally, but I feel like a quick death would be better that years of agony. So I personally do not think that death in and of itself is evil. The cause of death can be evil, and the carnage left over can be horrifying, but I do not see natural disasters as evil. And as for suffering, Edgar Allen Poe came to the conclusion that, without their opposites, things like love, beauty, and pleasure could not exist, and that we merely experience them in degrees, pain being the stimulus with the least amount of pleasure. The idea of suffering presupposes justice, but the world just does not work like that.


    I know the world isn't fair, but why isn't it ever unfair in my favor?
    Bill Watterson

    DQ: Could suffering ever cease to exist?
    FQ: Which modern philosopher grappled with the existence of suffering and the implications of that with the existence of God?
    A: Law

  5. The thing about death and suffering is.. to Christians, this means you're going to live with your creator. Death may seem bad but if it means that you're going to live in Heaven, it doesn't seem all that bad to me. So to go with the parent/child analogy.. If your child is living off in some place where bad things are always happening (earth) and you could do something to bring them to a place of eternal freedom and happiness (heaven), why not do something to bring them home to you? Like Paul said, "to live is Christ, to die is gain." Obviously to a non-religious person this is going to sound ludicrous, but they all already think I'm crazy so I don't have a problem with it anymore.

  6. Anonymous9:35 AM CDT

    Being a christian, I do not believe in the idea that there could be an evil God. Christians believe in the words written in the bible, and nowhere in the bible does it say that God is evil. God is no respecter of oersons so he allows things to happen to us that we view as bad things. Even though things don't go exactly as we would like, that does not mean that we can call God evil. He has a specific plan for our lives. We must see our lives in the big picture. It is often hard to have a positive outlook on life when things are not going our way. We all need to evaluate what we view as evil and what we view as good. Everyone has a different view on life, so we must be aware of all those around us.
    ~Emily Ball