Am I enabling blasphemy?

While the commenting system changes over, some disputes in the content of the comments stay the same.  And there was a recent tete-a-tete I'd think needs a post worth of response.  In Cam's reply/objection to Scott's essay on suffering and optimal search strategies, Cam went through a couple of the usual objections to theodicy and then exclaimed: Why are there multiple types of suffering? Is your deity a sadistic fuckhead? Let’s accept all of the arguments offered by the author. This entire syst … [Read more...]

Contra Pangloss et Oprah

I recieved a comped copy of Glorious Ruin as part of the Patheos Book Club.This may be a matter of taste, but I thought Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free was too peppy for a book on the theology of suffering.  I like small, tightly focused books, and I thought returning again and again to Job was an interesting idea, but there was a weird quality of breathlessness (and too many exclamation points) throughout.The best part of the book contrasted the Theology of Glory with the Theo … [Read more...]

Assenting to Sin

If someone has made up their mind to do something evil, is there any benefit to them if someone else prevents them from carrying out their intended action? The hypothetical doesn’t need to be as extreme as the examples of the last few days, where someone else commits the evil act preemptively to prevent you from managing it. Imagine instead someone swapping out PZ Myers’s consecrated wafer with an unconsecrated wafer before he desecrated it, or just stealing it back from him alt … [Read more...]

Questions for Atheists: Why is there Evil (Part 2)

This post is part of a series written in response to creationist Michael Egnor's Eight Questions for Atheists.  You can check out all my responses to date at the series index.In part one of this answer, I wrote about evil that befalls people, and this half of my answer will focus on the evil committed by people. When I talk about evil actions here, I’m going to leave aside incidental evil – evil that is not deliberately willed, but which is the result of a lack of knowledge or a f … [Read more...]

Questions for Atheists:Why is There Evil? (Part 1)

This post is part of a series responding to Michael Egnor's Eight Questions for New Atheists.  You can read through all my answers to Egnor's questions.I've not really even been that bothered by the problem of theodicy, so, unfortunately, I can't make good use of what I imagine Egnor though would be the most attractive question for atheists.  I think most discussions of evil/theodicy can be split into two separate categories: evil that befalls people and evil that is committed by people, so I … [Read more...]

Questions for Atheists: Why is there Regularity/Law in Nature?

This is part of a series of posts answering Michael Egnor's eight questions for atheists.  I am taking the questions out of order, as suits my fancy, but you can see all questions and my responses here.I can default to the standard atheist response to this question and reply that the probability of regularity in nature, conditional on my own existence as a living conscious creature is one, but I'd like to go into a little more detail on why I believe that is true.Go ahead.  Try to im … [Read more...]

The anthropomorphization of God

Everyone in the DC area should be booking tickets asap to see New Jerusalem at Theatre J (major hat tip to Eve Tushnet).  David Ives has done a magnificant job dramatizing Baruch de Spinoza's trial for heresy in his own synagogue.  I'll be writing more about it soon, but don't wait on me to get your tickets now.  (I recommend buying seats in the bench section, which puts you onstage for the trial).In the play Spinoza questions assumptions about the nature of God, and accuses the members of hi … [Read more...]