You don't have to be a genius to recognize that evil deeds happen, especially when it involves deliberate killing children in the name of G-d. Why do people have the license to be evil?
I fully agree!
I'm not ready to leave this one alone. Just because evil happens, why must we assume that such deeds are tolerated? If we assume that the absence of preemption implies tolerance, then that explains such thinking. But what if the Grand Design doesn't guarantee preemption even through evil isn't tolerated? If evil was somehow blocked, then it wouldn't be a factor in our existence. Maybe as a species we need to alter the equation of our existence in order to block evil all by ourselves.
You've touched on some profound points here, Jeff. I don't think we should assume that evil is tolerated by the Universe (or the Divine) just because it happens. And I also don't think that the absence of preemption -- or apparent intervention -- should imply such tolerance.
In process theology, this question is dealt with by defining God's power as inherently persuasive and not coercive, and that this explains much about why things are the way that they are, including natural and human evil. There could very well be something to this viewpoint. I personally have never tried to describe God's love as anything other than pure, which has been my direct experience of it at key points in my life.
As you might know, I've explained the existence of evil (to my own satisfaction) through an understanding of the dynamics between God and this universe as an unfolding manifestation of God. It's probably not necessary for me to go into great detail here about a philosophy that I've covered earlier in this discussion. I guess my point is that even though process theology and my philosophy of derivism have similarities, how they each come to terms with the problem of evil is somewhat different.
I think that it's safe to say that the ways that process theology and derivism deal with the problem are both examples of how "the Grand Design doesn't guarantee preemption even through evil isn't tolerated." It's true that "if evil was somehow blocked, then it wouldn't be a factor in our existence." It's just that where process theology explains the unblocking (or flow) of evil as occuring because God's love is persuasive and not coercive, derivism recognizes the reality of evil as being the result of the interplay between God and a universe that derives from God -- a universe that has an inherent power to resisit God's power in its fullness. Where process theology and derivism do meet is that both schools of thought recognize the overcoming of evil as a process. As process theologian C. Robert Mesle has said:
"It has taken God billions of years to draw the world through an evolutionary process capable of sustaining human beings. The freedom we enjoy is founded on a whole world of creatures. The freedom of our minds depends upon and arises out of the experience of the billions of cells that form our bodies at any moment. It is simply not within God's power to overturn all of that in a single moment."
Where I agree with most of what Mesle is saying here, I do part ways with process theology proper on the last line of his quote. Where process theology says that God's power is limited, I say that our ideas of what real power is must be redefined. Yes, we have the power to imagine God working in all kinds of ways, but that doesn't make what we imagine God's power to be, a literal reality. I would rephrase Mesle's last line to say, "It is simply not within what we imagine God's power to be to overturn all of that in a single moment." By redefining omnipotence in this way, I'm able to preserve it -- at least for myself.
As you've probably guessed, Jeff, I'm all for altering "the equation of our existence", but I wouldn't attempt to block evil all by ourselves. I think I'll always see it as a collaborative effort between us and The Divine. But I do believe the time is over where we expect God to accomplish things independently of our efforts. I see us all as agents of The Universe. The essential way that God's purposes are accomplished is through our hearts, hands, and minds. On this point, most process theologians and I are in full agreement.
When I originally said that evil is tolerated, I meant by humans. Clearly, it's tolerated by whatever deity one wants to invoke. We all tolerate evil to a certain degree because unless it happens right under our noses (and then sometimes that doesn't matter) most people do nothing about it.
Case in point - militias in the Sudan, butchering and doing other horrible things to innocent people. No one really doing anything about it. If enough people decided that it had to stop the solution is simple - have fund raisers to raise the money to launch a mission, manned by mercenaries, adventures and right minded thrill seekers, to travel to that region. Once there, arms could be procured and the mission would be on task - to locate and identify the targets, trick them into attacking fake village positions which would be fronts for kill zones, and wipe them out. Disappear the remains and keep whatever is useful, then do it all over again until there's no more bad guys.
Next: Drug lords south of the border...
That is true Marshall, humans tolerate by whatever their belief is at the moment -or excuse-I might add. What sometimes prompts one to act on such injustice appears to be from someone else pointing it out-very loudly or with much advertising-whether personal or public.
Hi Jeff, I am curious how we can all be talking about something such as God or the Universe and its tolerations with regard to your question, when each being in this conversation has such a unique perspective or definition of what God or the Universe is?
It seems to me, that first there needs to be some agreement on some similar defining aspects of the terms, Universe or God with regard to what they mean to you? Otherwise it seems to me that we are all just having conversations with ourselves…
I also have a unique view on the terms, Universe or God from the perspective of Energy. Energy is not really endowed with personality or with human attributes, though human beings are endowed with some attributes of Eternal Energy. It is truly seen to me, ‘As Above, so it is below’, yet not the other way around.
I also know that the law of Cause and Effect cannot be broken, twisted or bargained with on any level being an Eternal law. So whatever we do-however we act, good or not so good-such as evil-its effect will come back to us-the creator of said cause.
My question then would be, is the term ‘tolerate’ ascribing a human aspect to the Universe or God?
I would agree with you - when people talk about God or the "Universe" that they are just really talking with themselves. That's exactly what religion does, moves the idea of universal truth into a subjective abstraction that then large groups of people buy into vs what other large groups have bought into. The mean result being that each group is left talking with itself.
As far as the karmic law of cause and effect (as opposed to the actual law of cause and effect from physics), it's rather weak in this world and somewhat subjective...
It is interesting and kind of sad really, how people in organizations built upon some exclusive philosophy do end up just talking to themselves. The ‘buying into’ of such exclusive philosophies is very divisive and just builds more of the same. That is why I love finding a ‘Truth’ that is universal- exists across all borders.
That's what I discovered. It's built exclusively on objective, quantifiable facts with no interjection of anything related to or stemming from a higher power or subjective experience. It relates to every human being on the planet. If it spreads, it could save the world...
You've pricked my curiosity, Marshall. What exactly have you discovered? And how is it "built exclusively on objective, quantifiable facts with no interjection of anything related to or stemming from a higher power or subjective experience"? And could it really save the world?
I'm writing a book about it. It will contain the entire philosophical viewpoint. I'm not releasing it until I have everything in place to launch it on a massive, international level. If it is not poised to help change the world, then there's no point in doing it, so I'm doing it right...
It could save the world if it gets popular enough, or maybe save a enough people to make it worth the effort. It's built on objective, quantifiable facts with no interjection of anything related to or stemming from a higher power or subjective experience, because it is. Just like a brick house is built with bricks and not wood. The fact that you had to question that is a good example of how radical the concept is and yet it's very simple. We are immersed in its basic elements every day and yet brain washed into ignoring them.
It's time for a new alternative that's based on truth that all good people can agree upon if they can let go of the extraneous stuff that's irrelevant.
I just beat Stephen Hawking over the existence of the Higgs Boson - http://www.prlog.org/11914207-higgs-boson-announcement-shines-light... so I'm no slouch in the intellectual department, and frankly I've had it with the world the way it. I'm doing something about it...
Sounds intriguing, Marshall. Thank you for answering my questions to the best of your ability at this present time (not to be confused with this present moment). ;o)
And as far as Hawking is concerned, I really don't think he should be announcing a bet if he's not going to give someone the opportunity to accept it. That's just poor gamesmanship.