Monthly Archives: July 2018

You Want to Know the Real Problem of Evil? You Got It.

Now that we have—by illustrating the rank contradictions which make up its substrata of rationale—dispensed with the theological and logical fallacy of the “Problem of Evil” as presumed by Christian orthodoxy, we can talk about the real problem of evil.

But what do we mean by “evil”?  Well, first, we need a reference.  That is, in order to call something moral or immoral we must reference it to that which can rationally arbitrate ethical value.  Without such a reference, it’s impossible to ascribe a moral label.  So, what’s the reference? The only reference which is rationally consistent is the Individual. Now, please note that in this article I am not going to explicate ethics in detail at the philosophical primary level. You can find that elsewhere on this blog.

I thus define evil this way:

The willful action of one individual which violates another.

Think Old Testament.  Think Ten Commandments.  Stealing, hurting, killing, lying to yourself or others.

Now, there is a subsection of ethics which deals with “acts of nature”, so to speak.  Those incidents where the innocent are subjected to torment, neglect, and death that have nothing to do with the willful acts of other human beings.  Like natural disasters, accidents of poor judgment (e.g. getting lost in the wilderness at night and falling down a steep ravine), or even something like a bridge collapsing.  We can argue that these things are technically violations of human life, and thus may be described as evil.  But I don’t think they fall under the category of a “problem of evil”, unless you consider God the fundamental controller of everything and thus must implicate Him in some way.  But as I explained in my previous article on the subject, this is not really a problem, because it is not actually paradoxical. It’s a contradiction and thus a lie.  So, when we are talking evil, we’ll keep it simple…basic rational ethics a la the Ten Commandments.  Kiling, lying, stealing, and all their various forms (bullying, psychological abuse, manipulation or fraud, etc.). That’s basic rational ethics, and it need not be complicated.  What is complicated is dismantling the fraudulent ethics of irrational philosophies and other various hijacking of reason.  But true ethics is simple, and I would argue, innately understood by all of us as a function of our nature.  This innate understanding of goodness is corrupted by bad philosophies, and specifically bad metaphysics, not unlike those which underwrite governments.  All of them.  Which leads us to the main thesis of this article.

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Why do people do evil?

Who are the greatest and most prolific and persistent culprits?

The answers to these questions most likely will surprise you, and I can tell you right now that the rest of this article won’t win me any friends, and will likely lose me some. Because the answer to the second question is: you.  And me, in the past.  And the why is this: because we think evil is good.

I must step carefully around this prickly subject. I am not trying to shame anyone.  I am not condemning you to fire and brimstone.  I am not ultimately imprecating the character of friends and family, or even of humanity in general.  I am not saying you ARE evil, because I know that that simply isn’t true.  This is an admonishment to a new thinking, not a condemnation of your soul.  I am aiming to help people to re-evaluate their root assumptions about he nature of man and reality, and to realize that those assumptions are the difference between our lives contributing, on the whole, to sublime morality or the utter abasement of God and the world.  Because no matter how good and reasonable and true and honorable we think we are, our root assumptions—and we all have them—define, ultimately and foundationally, our moral contribution to reality.  And that contribution is either evil or it is good, period.  The question begged, then, is this:  Can a person with evil assumptions who truly believes that these assumptions are good ultimately do good with their life?

I guess I should explain what I mean about “evil assumptions”.  What I mean is assumptions about the nature of man and his relationship to realty which nullifies man’s will, and demands him inadequate, by dint of no less than his very own birth, to existence, itself.  The philosophies in which this is done are varied and copious, and without any rival anywhere in the world I submit, but at root they all share the same theme:  Man is fundamentally controlled by some determinative force outside of himself, be it God, or natural law, or mathematics, or his own “sin nature”, or the Unknown, or evolution, or all of the above, and therefore his will—his sentience and agency—is, at the very foundation of his existential make-up, fraudulent.  Will is an illusion; choice is determined and thus a lie.  Man is incapable of being himself qua himself—there is no such thing.  And thus, for his own good, and to ensure his own real and true existence, his will must be censured, and he forced into “goodness”.  He must be forced to thrive because he cannot do it on his own.  Man speaks as if he is an individual, but this is a function of a root existential error, and his individuality is an illusion at best.  His reality is that he is collectively driven by a single Cause (God, Nature, some other Force), and thus his false sense of self must be oppressed so that his true self—his determined and collective self—can prosper.  He must be forced to thrive—forced into his proper collectivist role—because he simply cannot do it on his own.

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People committing rank atrocities against their fellow man are easy to spot when the definition of evil is rational.  It is hard for the liar, or thief, or murderer to hide when the ethical context is clear.  They stick out like a dead fly in a glass of milk.  And thus, I don’t consider them, and whatever pathology drives them, be it physiological or behavioral or genetic or whatever, to be the real root of the problem of evil.  The liar lies, the killer kills, and the thief steals.  This is clear.  The real problem evil—of evil which is endemic and pervasive—my friends, is not the evil person, but rather the good one.  That is, real evil is found in the majority…the masses who wish to do good, to save and promote fellow man, but do so from a false assumption. The assumption is this: The only way to get men to behave morally is ultimately to grant a small group of people (or a single person) the power to compel human behavior by violence.

I’m talking, in essence, about government. And the fact that after thousands of years of state-sponsored mass murder, oppression, exploitation, slavery, torture, economic regression, and nepotism, we all still accept that the most moral form of humanity is that in which it is governed.  We accept that by eradicating morality, which destroys choice by forced compliance to legality, which is an entirely different ethic altogether, goodness can be brought about in the world.

It can’t.  It hasn’t.  It won’t.

What is the assumption which guides our moral code, almost to a person?  It is found in the answer to the question: Why government?  The answer is always the same, though in various semantic molds:  Without government, man is doomed.  Left to himself, man’s base natural instincts to oppression, exploitation, and murder will erupt and the earth will be a cauldron of misery…a hell, itself.  That man’s very inherent and natural ability to choose his own actions cannot be trusted.  And choice, dear readers, is the root of what makes a human being a human being.  Absent choice, there is no individual.  And thus, this concession to the necessity of government implies that man IS EVIL, ITSELF.  And that’s why government. That’s why human will must be replaced by obedience to law.

Of course, how the political elite get a pass on their own mendacity and natural depravity is a question that is alway punted into the cosmic abyss of grand Mystery.  The fact is, we are told, that our sense of One Self—of “I”—is by nature false, and our choice thus is the vehicle for our own destruction.  And therefore we must be ruled.  It is the only way to save us.  We must have ourselves forcefully denied so that humanity can survive.

And that is REAL evil.  That idea…right there.

So you shall never get to experience life out from under the unblinking eye of Authority, no matter how benevolent or special or God-ordained that authority is claimed to be.  The Bill of Rights, Magna Carta, Pax Romana…it’s force, force, force.  It’s the State, and it means law, and law is the eradication of choice by its nature, and this means the nullification of morality, which means that there is no longer any  consequence for actual evil…because evil becomes not that which violates the individual—YOU or ME—but which violates Law.  Because YOU and ME are a lie, we are told and believe.  So, you will never know what it means to be you, ultimately.  You will never know the freedom of You qua You.  You must always have an overlord, and a cage in which to put you, even though its borders be the size of a continent.  You may have a shadow of freedom, but you will never have it in the flesh.  You will never get to be the real You.  The Self is dead at birth.

And now, right now, you’re telling yourself that I’m a fool…a nut, a radical, a denier of reality, lost, or angry, or irrational, or all of it.  Perhaps you should no longer associate with me, you’re thinking. Perhaps you will unfriend me on Facebook…or perhaps you already have.  I’m a bad influence, a reprobate, a rejector of clear truth.  An arguer, a rebel, a non-compromiser, a denier of God’s sovereignty, a rejector of the empirical, unenlightened, unsaved, a know-it-all, arrogant, and without faith.

Of course we need government, you’re thinking.  Of course we can’t just let people do whatever they want!  That’s complete madness! The death of us all! Idiotic!

Nothing I can say will change your mind. Nothing I can do will cause you to question. I can show you the graves of the millions that government has slaughtered; the starving children ravaged by polical despots who are called the “savior of the people”, the “dear leader”, the “Fuhrer”.  I can show you internment camps and gas chambers and killing fields and nuclear craters and whole cities on fire and severed heads on poles on castle walls and bodies littering the colosseums and the crucifixion of Christ, and all of it a government program, and yet you shall reject the idea that government, and in particular its philosophical roots, might just be the source of the horror. No, in your eyes, I am forever the fool.

And that, my friends…is the problem of evil.

 

 

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Solving the “Problem of Evil” from Reason

You’ve heard of the “problem of evil” (henceforth to be written PE)? If not, that’s okay. I will explain it here. Basically the PE is this: in light of God’s sovereign Character, how can we explain the existence of evil in the world? How can an all-powerful and all-loving God create, cause, and allow for evil to exist in the world, and even worse, in such copious amounts and in such terrible forms?

The problem with the PE assertion is that it makes some fundamental assumptions with respect to God and man’s nature and character, and the nature of reality in general, which simply do not stand up to rational scrutiny.  Now, many, if not all of these underlying rational errors, I have dealt with in articles on this blog, probably more than once. But I thought it might be beneficial to write a summary in article form on the false assumptions which lead people to accept the PE as a paradox that has some logical merit and relevance to theological discourse.

It doesnt.

This is by no means a comprehensive synopsis…and, given that it is relatively deep and detailed, this should tell you something.  I submit that the false and arrantly irrational assumptions which underly the PE, in and of themselves, alone, suffice to illuminate with perfect clarity this baseless notion. Unfortunately, with religion it seems that all too commonly rational error and superstition are a boon, not a demerit.

What most immediately and predominately springs to mind as aiding and abetting the idea of the PE is the Biblically absent yet widely accepted notion of humanity’s Total Depravity.

The idea is this: man, because of “The Fall” (a term also Biblically absent) in the Garden of Eden was cursed with a pervasive “sin nature”.  This means that existentially man cannot help but sin.  In fact, man, by his very birth IS SIN, for all intents and purposes.  Everything he does in his natural state is from evil  He cannot understand, and thus cannot choose nor do anything that isn’t evil at root.  And though the Church can often be seen equivocating most hypocritically the idea that a totally depraved reprobate who is infinitely wicked by nature is still somehow morally responsible for his actions, the fact remains that ALL of Christian orthodoxy asserts either plainly or implicitly that man—and even those who are saved by Christ are often featured in this assessment—MUST sin, and WILL sin.  It is a forgone conclusion from birth, period, full stop. And though I have heard many times Christain apologists and theologians attempt, in cringe-inducing fashion, to explain how a TOTALLY depraved human being is not actually totally depraved, the fact is that, according to their own arguments, it is impossible for them to describe just where in the singularity of one’s individuality evil ceases and good begins.  Thus, I submit that this whole convoluted and disastrous notion of Total Depravity contributes to the PE in a couple of ways:

If man disobeyed God in the Garden, and this initiated the race’s downfall, and if this was a function of God’s creating man with the ability to disobey, then how is God not ultimately responsible?  How can we absolve God of blame when he specifically and in full control of his divine faculties created man with the distinct ability to wreck himself and all of creation along with him by doing evil, and this in perfect keeping with his normal operation?  That is, the ability of man to choose evil was not a design error.  It was a part of his proper construction and function.  So…can we really blame the machine for simply doing what the maker designed it to do in the first place?

Next, does not the fact that after the Fall man becoming wholly determined to sin imply that man has made it impossible for God to abolish evil…since every man born MUST by nature do evil?  Indeed, is not every man’s birth post-Fall an act in and of itself of evil—by definition of the pervasive sin nature which utterly and existentially defines him? And if we argue that God can, in fact, abolish evil by destroying all of mankind, is this not an admission that the Maker has failed in his creation? That the perfect God has created out of Himself that which is inherently imperfect by virtue of its innate ability to sin? Even the act of sending a Savior to redeem man implies a contradiction stemming from the Total Depravity of a failed creature that somehow corrupted the Perfect God’s perfect universe by simply exercising a divinely created, divinely-willed, and divinely-intended freedom of choice. For how can he whose very birth is an act of evil because of the categorical nature of his root existential wickedness and who is unable to see the Truth and accept God’s Provision except when enlightened by God’s Spirit, and this entirely of God’s doing, possibly be converted from darkness to light? In other words, how can God make Good, Evil? What is A cannot be made B without contradicting A and thus contradicting B. That is, Evil cannot be made Good without rendering both concepts entirely subjective, barren of any inherent objective meaning and value. In other words, God cannot make evil good just like He cannot make a square a circle without destroying both concepts…and thus He contradicts His ability to create those concepts in the first place.

Other irrational assumptions which underly the PE have to do with the commonly accepted Divine Characteristics: omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. Now, I have dismantled these in previous articles, detailing how they are in fact inherent contradictions which destroy God’s identity by ascribing to Him attributes which wreck any distinction between Himself and His Creation. A God who can do anything can, by definition, BE anything; and a God who can be anywhere IS everywhere; and a God who knows everything must determine everything. And thus, the only conclusion to be drawn is that there is nothing that God ultimately isn’t, nowhere that He isn’t, and no act that he doesn’t. And in this context, God becomes utterly non-relative.  That is, since there is nowhere that God ends and His Creation begins, the distinction is ruined and God’s very identity with it. In short, the false paradox of the PE is asserted via these Divine Characteristics as follows:

How can a God who basically knows everything and controls everything and is everything and determines everything NOT be responsible FOR everything, including all of the evil He claims He hates?

To conclude, the simple answer to the problem of evil is this:

It is rooted in assumptions that are rank, object, and arrant contradictions, and thus all of these assumptions must be rejected as impossible. Man, being a rational creature, and one who relies upon the conformity of his concepts to rational consistency in order to define and navigate reality, must stop pretending that claims to divine enlightenment and salvation is but an ideological and fanatical commitment to madness over reason; to ignorance and foolishness as the Most Noble Virtue; and to superstition over Truth.

In mathematics, if the numbers do not properly sum, then the equation is in error and reworked or discarded. In science if the empirical evidence is not forthcoming then proof is not accepted or asserted. And in philosophy—and the theological is inexorably philosohical—if the syllogism nullifies the concepts from which it is constructed then it is false, and no truth can be derived. We must throw it out and start again with new assumptions that are rationally consistent and thus can lead to meaningful and useful conclusions.

The fact is that there is no such thing as the Problem of Evil. It’s a contrivance from ignorance or willful deception, and must be dismantled and condemned as such. It presumes a definition of God that renders “God” a null hypothesis. That is, it makes God a contradiction in terms, and thus it demands that there can be no such thing. It pretends that an All-Powerful God can willfully create that which is contrary to both that power and his very Self. The solution then to the problem of evil is to reject it for the distraction from the truth that it is.

In my next article then, I will discuss what the world’s moral problem really is, and how evil contributes.