Thursday, October 6, 2011

FacePalm of th Day #132 - Responding to Johnny P World and does God have Free Will?

Johnny P has responded to my blog post on an article he posted on Debunking Christianity Is this the Best Possible World and does God have Free Will?. He took some of my comments and attempted a response. It's too much to respond to in the comments so another blog post is in order. My quoted comments are in italics and his response is in black font and my response to those are in red.

It seems that you are somewhat overambitious in calling this a face-palm, judging by your continual question-begging annotation. For example, you first comment on evil, without really defining it, says that we would never exist if evil did not exist. I take it, then, we don’t exist in heaven – it’s empty (d’oh, facepalm!).

Evil doesn't make it heaven (double facepalm). The point of Jesus dying on the cross and being born-again is to get rid of the evil in our souls. I also find it interesting that Johnny P didn't define evil. As a Christian, I can define it but without God I don't think anyone can define what evil is. It would be amusing to see Johnny P try. In case he responds to this (or anyone) I'll save my full definition. Instead let me explain what I am meant that without evil we would not exist. I wrote: This line of argumentation has never impressed me because who says that we can determine when God should deal with evil. The argument also fails to take account that if God destroyed all evil now, we would all be destroyed. If God had destroyed all evil at any time in the past, we would never exist. Instead God has a plan in mind and everything is in place to bring that plan to fruition - even evil. Because obviously Johnny P didn't understand, let's restate it. The statement was in reference to the evil and sin that permeates humanity. If God destroyed evil without cleaning evil from our lives, we would all be destroyed. When we say that God should get rid of evil and punish sin, we usually mean those people over there - apart from us and not recognizing that we are no better than they are. We deserve hell just like they do. You don't earn your way to heaven - it's by grace.

“I really wish that when people raise this objection would really argue without the arrogance of assuming that we know just how much suffering there should be in order to get the "best possible world". “

Er, I think you entirely miss the point. It’s not about what we know, it’s about the notion that God knows. And as such, in order to earn he title of omnibenevolent and perfect, this MUST be the most perfect world. It’s got nothing to do with what we know. We simply make evidential observations about the amount of suffering and people like you try and harmonise it with your God claiming that it is not gratuitous. This does, indeed, beg the question. It is logically possible, but this by no means that it is logically probable or plausible.

Johnny P missed the point I raised. God does know perfectly everything. And we don't. The Bible does not tell us that his world is perfect. It tells us that the world is decaying because of our sin and evil. I quoted Romans 8:19-25. Guess he missed it. Let me be clear. Johnny P's presumptions are wrong. Even if you don't think the Bible is correct, you have got to admit that he is making arguments based on claims that the Bible does not make.


“Why would we expect the universe and reality to be different?”

Well, for starters, I would be clever enough to create a life-sustaining planet that didn’t have plate tectonics that killed millions of people throughout history. I think that’s fairly obvious. Especially since no theodicy that you could offer says anything about the billions of animals and ecosystems destroyed in the 2004 tsunami.

I don't need to. Paul answered that: Romans 8. Also he ignored the rest of the argument. How do you know that the world would be better without plate tectonics, As far as we can tell, life as we know it is impossible without plate tectonics. No people. John Lennox discussed this really well.  As for Tsunami, Jesus offered the best theodicy.

 1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” - Luke 13:1-5

Your next set of comments lead onto the larger argument over whether free will can be a potentiality only.

“Doing the maximally loving thing at all times is hardly limitation if you don't want to do anything otherwise”

If God can’t WANT to do anything else, then what the hell do you define as free will?

I didn't say "can't" I said "doesn't" and watch your language. . 

I would say that this is simply determinism. To analogise, this would be exactly the same as espousing determinism in humans – we act because we are who we are, in our nature. If you studied free will (I have written a book on it) you would see that, if God was always to act in a particular way, you are denying the Principle of Alternate Possibilities.

What is the title of this book? According to the Bible telling us that we are hopelessly imprisoned in sin, terminated in total separation from God, I don't see how we have the ability to make choices free of sinful influence without God. That's not free will. I don't deny that there is such things as free will. I'm saying that only God has it.  And yes, that mean there aren't alternate possibilities outside of what God has already "bound" or "loosed". (Matthew 16). God always acts in a particular way - the way he chooses. 

11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. - Ephesians 1:11-12

As for your criticism of my tax man analogy, you don’t really say much but a simple assertion that it is a bad analogy (it is a synopsis of a much longer analogy).

Maybe Johnny P missed it. I offered a different analogy.  Here is again: It's more like having already been born in prison and not being able to raise bail. You are sentenced to death. The only way to be free and live is to let Jesus no just pay the price for your release but take your  punishment of death as well.

“The problem is that we don't know that the maximally loving options are or even what "love" really is in all situations. We have an idea, but we don't really know exhaustively”

Exactly the same issues as mentioned before.

Which Johnny P again misses that giving our ignorance we don't know what the perfect world even looks like. 

And your worst moment comes here:

“The Creation did not fall short of perfection before the fall.”

Oh dear, you believe in Original Sin. Too many criticisms of this to even begin.

Bring it.

“Again do you or anyone of know what the whole plan is? Do we know what the best for us in the world is? I don't. If you think you do, then you are really dishonest. If you don't know what maximally good and perfect are, how do you know that there is no purpose for the suffering we witness? You don't.”


Again, pretty poor reasoning. As I asked God in my last book:
If my child was to walk on the flowers in my garden, trampling them, it would be immoral to punish him without telling him what he had done wrong. This would communicate to my child his misdemeanour so that he would not do it again. What have we done wrong to deserve cancer, malaria, the tsunami, the Holocaust, disability, cholera etc., and is it right that you have not communicated to us why we have had these ‘punishments’?

God told us what we did to deserve all of this. The books of Job, Habakkuk, and most of the Bible deal with this. Johnny P said that he asked God this question in his last book as if God did not answer. He did..
The wages of the righteous is life, but the earnings of the wicked are sin and death. - Proverbs 10:!6

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 6:23

This is not saying that every single bad thing that has ever happened to you is because of something you personally did. The book of Job deals with that. This world is fallen - bringing us back to Roams 8. I don't know what kind of answer Johnny P is looking for but God more than answers us.

You special plead God’s master plan on behalf of God, but any responsible and loving parent, teacher, society TELLS PEOPLE WHY THEY ARE BEING PUNISHED. Whether it be tsunamis, malaria, cancer of whatever, The almighty God can’t be bothered to tell us why these things are necessary to make a better world, but instead relies on you to tell us through ad hoc, implausible reasoning! Outstanding. No, my friend, the facepalm is all yours.

Considering Johnny P fails to understand the answer given in the Bible or even offer and objection - I see two facepalms

And as for arrogance, you are attempting to speak for an almighty and all-loving God. I’m sure he could get off his throne and do it himself.

I'm not speaking for God out of pocket. I'm only saying what the Bible say. I didn't write it. If you don't believe it prove it wrong. Johnny P makes several assertions without a single basis. It's arrogant to criticize a design and not know the specs, which is all Johnny P had done.  If you want to demonstrate arrogance on my part Johnny P has to do one of two things.  Show how I have misrepresented what the Bible has said or show that the Bible is wrong.  He has done neither.

"So Johnny P's reasons for rejecting God has to do with erroneous presuppositions about what good is and what love is and what the nature of God is."

This, again, is poor. My ideas about what God is follow necessarily from the rather arrogant and unsupported ideas of what his characteristics are. You circularly use the bible to maintain your opinions and then accuse others of misrepresenting your god when you ad hoc harmonise everything about your god.

Using the Bible is no circular reasoning. I maintain that the only way you can know much about who God is, is by revelation. The Bible gives us that revelation. Unless you can show that the Bible is wrong there is no reason to throw it out as a source of knowledge.

As for Middle Knowledge, I did not say that WAS the mechanism, so thanks for building the straw man. Go back and read the sentence.

I didn't say Johnny P did. I was saying that Johnny P seems to think that the Christian position is Middle Knowledge by default. I know Johnny P is an atheist and does not accept Middle Knowledge. Neither do all Christians. The straw man is his.

This was a logical argument that you have treated rather illogically.

Sim,ply[sp] put:

1) God is perfect
2) a perfect being cannot create imperfectly
C) this universe is a perfect creation.

What do you disagree with there? That was my argument, and it then follows that:

The Bible does not support your premise: "this is a perfect universe" You should agree. That's the point you are making. God did not create imperfectly. It was perfect until Adam and Eve sinned and our sin perpetuates the problems. Your premises fail.

1) this is a perfect universe
2) we have tsunamis, malaria, cancer etc
3) these things exist in a perfect world
C) these things must be necessary for a perfect world

It's not a perfect world (see Romans 8 and the rest of the Bible). Therefore Johnny P's conclusions are flawed because we don't know what the "perfect world" is. His argument is that if there was a perfect world things like tsunamis, malaria, cancer, and etc would not exist. God agrees.  It's not perfect. The Bible does not tell us it is with sin running rampant. When God purges sin, and according to the Bible He will, then it will be perfect again.

All you have done in you 'critique' is waffle on about not much, and NOT address the argument!

Johnny P has been consistent in his inability to answer what God has said about the questions he raised. I did address the argument because God has addressed and it was put to rest 2000 years ago. Just read your Bible for a change. Philosophy doesn't cut the mustard. Revelation is need. And you can't argue against Christianity without understanding what the Bible says and  Johnny P shows no understanding. Double FacePalm.

What had happen' was.....: FacePalm of th Day #129 - Debunking Christianity: Is this the Best Possible World and does God have Free Will?
Enhanced by Zemanta

16 comments:

  1. Ryan, I don't think you understood my response to him. Asserting that you don't think I responded or I didn't do it correctly carries no weight as a bald assertion. Waiting for something substantive from you, for a change.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Why not post on Debunking Christianity? Bok BOK BOK!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. All my posts appear on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. I'm more than public. I promised I would not post there if they admitted they were pigs and posting and commenting there amounted to "casting pearls before swine". Those who aren't pigs can come read here or follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. I'm going to keep my promise.

    Again waiting for something worth responding to from you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. No, you were outclassed there and you are outclassed again. BOK!

    ReplyDelete
  5. You have the strangest definition and fantasies of what"outclassed" is. I'm still praying for you.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Er, in your first few lines you committed the fallacy of shifting the burden of proof. You see, since I am not asserting anything positive but am criticising a worldview and theory held by Christians, I do not need to define evil. I can believe it exists or deny it. It is irrelevant. This is a common fallacy committed by Christians. Hell, I've just watch Fernandes do it in a debate in which he got trounced by Lowder. You need to explain PLAUSIBLY why evil exists in the world, showing PLAUSIBLY that it is not gratuitous and explaining PLAUSIBLY how it provides a greater good.

    For example, most animals require the pain, suffering and death of other animals to merely survive. Why did God not just make all animals photosynthesise, or simply not need energy at all? This is far better explained by naturalism and atheism than it ever can be by omni-theism. And even if there is an explanation, it becomes wholly irresponsible that the Creator responsible for creating us, designing the system, knowing the outcomes, allowing all the suffering etc then refuses to EXPLAIN why the suffering is happening. Even if, as some theists special plead, we cannot understand the reasons, a simple "You know that tsunami that killed 250,000 people which was a result of the plate tectonics I designed into your world, well it IS NECESSARY for a greater good, you just wouldn't understand it" would suffice. A parent that punishes a kid without telling them what they are being punished for is wholly irresponsible. I'm not even sure I need to go on!

    ReplyDelete
  7. "If God had destroyed all evil at any time in the past, we would never exist. Instead God has a plan in mind and everything is in place to bring that plan to fruition - even evil."

    Blind assertion after blind assertion.

    ". If God destroyed evil without cleaning evil from our lives, we would all be destroyed. When we say that God should get rid of evil and punish sin, we usually mean those people over there - apart from us and not recognizing that we are no better than they are. We deserve hell just like they do. You don't earn your way to heaven - it's by grace. "

    Er, proof? Evidence? Look, if you're even half a serious thinker as you seem to think you are, you need to do a lot more work.

    Let's take the loving nature of a God who adores foetal death so much that he won't stop it naturally, even though most foetal deaths occur unnoticed to humanity causing us to question what positive effect they can have at all:

    Figures vary. However, it is thought that up to 50% of fertilised eggs die at or before implantation.

    Add that to up to 20% of known pregnancies miscarry.

    Add those two to unknown pregnancies dying after implantation, and you have a staggering amount of 'natural abortions' that God allows.

    So when Christians argue abortion, they actually need to answer why the omnipotent and omnibenevolent God allows what must be around 2/3 rds of all pregnancies to end it embryonic or foetal death (passive murderer).

    Explanations on a postcard please.

    God really is a loving kinda guy / god / thing.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "You don't earn your way to heaven - it's by grace"

    Brilliant. What's the point of any earthly action. This utterly invalidates a theistic meaning of life and fully subscribes to theistic determinism. Are you a Calvinist?

    "Johnny P missed the point I raised. God does know perfectly everything. And we don't. The Bible does not tell us that his world is perfect. It tells us that the world is decaying because of our sin and evil. I quoted Romans 8:19-25. Guess he missed it. Let me be clear. Johnny P's presumptions are wrong. Even if you don't think the Bible is correct, you have got to admit that he is making arguments based on claims that the Bible does not make. "

    Eh? You missed the point AGAIN! If this is an imperfect creation, then God is imperfect since a perfect creator cannot create imperfectly. It has to be one of 2 things:
    1) This is the perfect world
    2) this is the perfect set of parameters designed which led to this world.

    Given the knowledge of what this world would be like, these are effectively synonymous.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I would wait. I haven't finished yet. I am a busy man.

    "As far as we can tell, life as we know it is impossible without plate tectonics. "

    So do you admit God in his omnipotence is U#nalbe to produce a life-sustaining universe without plate tectonics? Dinesh D'Souza used this argument. And was torn apart. This, of course, is a situation more plausibly (through power and scope) explained through naturalism. It is NOT better explained by an all-loving God. The only thing you CAN do is all you ever do, appeal to God's omniscience. The classic 'omniscience escape clause' which offers nothing more than a God of the Gaps style of weak appeal. And that's the sum total of your entire defence.

    The question YOU need to ask yourself is 'Is this a plausible explanation?'

    No, it's not.

    Personally, I have seen a Lennox lecture. My friends and I questioned him. He was left wanting. Appealing to authority like that gets you nowhere.

    As for yopur bible quote, are you serious? Does that excuse a tsunami? All the foetuses, children, people who had never heard the Gospel, committed and repenting Christians? Dead? And all the animals and ecosystems? Take a long, hard look at what you are saying.

    "If God can’t WANT to do anything else, then what the hell do you define as free will?

    I didn't say "can't" I said "doesn't" and watch your language."

    You entirely missed the subtlety of that point, then. If he can only want what is within his all-loving nature, then he CAN'T WANT to do otherwise. This is synonymous with CAN'T do otherwise. Please take a breath to actually read my words, cogitate on them, and try to critique them intelligently.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Your next section you need to clarify by telling me whether you are a Calvinist or similar.

    "It's more like having already been born in prison and not being able to raise bail. You are sentenced to death. The only way to be free and live is to let Jesus no just pay the price for your release but take your punishment of death as well."

    OK, have it your way. If you think that is free will, then you would have most philosophers who ever existed to argue with on that analogy, starting with Hume!

    "Which Johnny P again misses that giving our ignorance we don't know what the perfect world even looks like."

    Again, you ignore my criticism that you appeal to the omniscience escape clause. Weak.It also doesn't matter one jot what WE know since it logically follows that this is the most perfect world that could feasibly be. DO YOU DENY THIS? Since this is the entire point of my post, and you have summarily ignored talking about the substantive points, building straw men and red herrings. Answer the question.

    "This is not saying that every single bad thing that has ever happened to you is because of something you personally did. The book of Job deals with that. This world is fallen - bringing us back to Roams 8. I don't know what kind of answer Johnny P is looking for but God more than answers us."

    I might be close to ad homming here. Anyone who believes it is right to be punished for the sins of others is an idiot. The bible condones this time and time again. It is why the bible is a torrid book.

    And of course, you suffer the perennial problem of seeking to verify the truth of the bible from... wait for it... the bible. The issues here are, again, too protracted to go into. If you believe unfalteringly, the disparate words of anonymous writers from thousands of years ago, then go for it. It will involve an unhealthy dollop of cognitive dissonance, some primetime indoctrination, some cultural bias, some social conditioning, and a whole heap of presupposition. Arguing from the bible is far more disingenuous than arguing to the bible.

    ""So Johnny P's reasons for rejecting God has to do with erroneous presuppositions about what good is and what love is and what the nature of God is."

    I have said nothing of what good or love is, so stop this naive critiquing of things I haven't even said. Tell me, what do I think goodness and love is, based on my comments here?

    You see, this seems to be an exercise, for you, in shifting the burden of proof. It is up to YOU to offer FEASIBLE and PROBABLE reasons why there seems to be an inconsistency in the love espoused by God and Christians and the way the world is.

    Answer this, is all the pain and suffering on the world NECESSARY for a perfect world, and if not, why not? And if it is because of free will, and God set up these parameters and knew what the outcomes were against all other possible outcomes from all other possible worlds, then this still has to be the best one. Otherwise God has not created the most loving, perfect world. IT DOESN'T MATTER ABOUT THE DEFINITIONS OF THESE WORDS!!!! This is a deductive argument. As long as you agree that God is all-loving and perfect, no matter what that means, then the conclusion validly follows that this is the most loving, perfect world. Deal with the argument please, and stop poncing around quoting bible verses, talking about red herrings.

    "I didn't say Johnny P did. I was saying that Johnny P seems to think that the Christian position is Middle Knowledge by default. I know Johnny P is an atheist and does not accept Middle Knowledge. Neither do all Christians. The straw man is his. "

    What? Do I? Did I say this? You are constantly trying to put words in my mouth. Get a grip. It's not a bloody straw man!! I said "and given the possibility of Middle Knowledge or any other mechanism for divine foreknowledge"

    POSSIBLITY of MK OR ANY OTHER MECHANISM!!!!!!

    Sheesh. This is painful.

    ReplyDelete
  11. "The Bible does not support your premise: "this is a perfect universe" You should agree. That's the point you are making. God did not create imperfectly. It was perfect until Adam and Eve sinned and our sin perpetuates the problems. Your premises fail. "

    Have you been paying any attention? See the logical arguments mentioned before. You are simply not addressing the points. Can a perfect God create imperfectly? Answer me that. You have offered nothing that approaches a logical refutation of any of my points. You have appealed to the bible a bunch of times, to no effect.

    "It's not a perfect world (see Romans 8 and the rest of the Bible). Therefore Johnny P's conclusions are flawed because we don't know what the "perfect world" is"

    For crying out loud, we don't need to!!!! How many times must I say this. You are being really naive.

    So, you say it was perfect until the fall.

    God has the choice, in his divine foreknowledge, of knowing all the worlds he could create and all their outcomes. He is perfect. He knows the fall will happen. He still chooses this one. Therefore, the fall, evil, suffering, plate tectonics (call it what you will) are necessary for the most perfect world! It's a simple argument that you have failed to grasp.

    "
    Johnny P has been consistent in his inability to answer what God has said about the questions he raised. I did address the argument because God has addressed and it was put to rest 2000 years ago. Just read your Bible for a change. Philosophy doesn't cut the mustard. Revelation is need. And you can't argue against Christianity without understanding what the Bible says and Johnny P shows no understanding. Double FacePalm."


    What a joke. Really. The best part? 'Philosophy doesn't cut the mustard'. You've been schooled. Philosophy is everything. You cannot even establish epistemology without philosophy. in other words, everything you have said, ever, cannot be established without philosophical investigations into epistemology, aesthetics, moral philosophy and so on.Take the bible. How do you evaluate what it is trying to say? Philosophy.

    I'm not sure it's worth me posting here any more unless you are
    1) less naive and better equipped philosophically
    2) slightly more humble (I apologise for my tone, but it seems you must fight fire with fire)
    3) Less fallacious

    ReplyDelete