Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able ? Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing ? Then he is malevolent.

Is he both willing and able ? Then whence cometh evil ?

Is he neither able nor willing ? Then why call him God ?

Epicurus.

Any thoughts ?

Tags: Epicurus

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Thank you for that!

You are not insensitive.  I try to keep it all in perspective.  Fortunately the mind can be good at wiping out some of the bad parts.  Already.

That's hilarious about your grandmother's class motto.  Those were different times.  We may yet head back to those times, in a newer version.  Hard hard time for many, then.  Now too, of course, but some of us are fortunate, mostly due to good luck, and some due to our efforts.

Chris:

To me the idea of a clockwork God, as in the religion/philosophy of Deism, is superfluous. Such a God might as well not exist. And are you referring to god in a generic sense, or do you have any particular god in mind ? Seeing as you refer to Thomas Aquinas' idea of God, I'm assuming you're referring to the Biblical God.

My point is that Aquinas resolved the issue of free will versus determinism by positing a more abstract notion of omnipotence. The trick lies in the notion that there are nothing logically necessary about the particular set of laws that govern the evolution of the universe. If you want to think about it in terms of physics, there's no fundamental reason why the speed of light should be 3 x 10**8 m/s, or Planck's Constant should be 6 x 10**-34 J-s. There's no requirement that energy be conserved or that entropy must increase. Nor is there any requirement for any particular state of the universe at its beginning. Thus, Aquinas is postulating that his God decided all these factors as part of the act of creation. Being omniscient, he knew how things would probably turn out (he made Planck's Constant nonzero to give free will some elbow room). Thus, his God was still all-powerful, but also indulged free will.

It's a terribly clever idea and, astoundingly enough, actually has some technological utility.

Reads a little like Sentient Biped suggested, "limited omnipotence", or "limited omniscient". I guess I can also add limited omnipresence. 

I can't even imagine how this is a "terribly clever idea". This is a "god of the gaps" argument. If it is shown that god is needed to establish the laws of Newton or the laws of nature, then I will gladly and happily yield. So far, I see reason to write it is a terribly bad idea based on attitudes, beliefs, customs, traditions and values.  Until and unless shown otherwise, I think it has no technological utility, just as free will versus determinism has no utility. 

I think It's not a riddle.Epicurus proved that god does not exists.

G:

"I think It's not a riddle.Epicurus proved that god does not exists."

100% agreed, as to the traditional God anyway. But I qualify that by saying I don't believe in any gods whatsoever. Epicurus demolished the God idea with his few lines.

I don't know if Epicurus himself was an atheist, however we know that Socrates died for his impiety so it's likely that he didn't declare himself atheist to save his own skin, and that's part of why he also chose to live peacefully, separate from the Greek polis on the outskirts of Athens.

Epicurus also talked about the atom 2,300 years ago and of the need for science as a way to overcome superstitious fears.  And he engaged women and even slaves as equals in philosophical discourse, which was considered scandalous.

Epicurus represents all the most progressive things about Western Humanism.  He's a cultural treasure.

Also, Epicureanism is experiencing a revival, focusing mainly on its ethics and its philosophical methodology for happiness (importance of friends, simple living, managing one's desires, etc).  There are two Epicurean Gardens in Greece (in Thessaloniki and Athens) and one in Sydney, Australia, and in the US there is the beginning of a movement with the Society of Friends of Epicurus:

http://societyofepicurus.com

Hopefully one day instead of having a church in every corner, we'll begin to see Epicurean Gardens in every major city.

If you are interested in Epicureanism, you might like the book, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt. It tells the story of the discovery of a manuscript of Lucretius's The Nature of Things by Poggio Bracciolini early in the fifteenth century and how that discovery brought the thinking of Epicurus into circulation once again and influenced the development of modern thought.

I'll add it to my list of books to read ... just finished Tim O'Keefe's book on Epicureanism, it was well explained.

@ Chris Crawford What evidence is Aquinas able to provide that he/she/it created the universe? Yes, scientists have difficulty with that one as well. OK, let's begin with the first living forms; what evidence can he give that living forms began because of he/she/it and created all in six days, however ever many hours a day was counted? Now, we come to evolution; what evidence can any human being offer that evolution is not a fact of existence?
With all the evidence of natural processes, why should one even entertain a notion that god-did-it?

Ms. Denoo, Aquinas was not concerned with justifying his faith; his concern lay in a variety of philosophical issues, one of which was the apparent conflict between free will and determinism. His major effort lay in reconciling Christian theology with Aristotelian logic; he ended up founding a school of thought called scholasticism. This is the school that gave us the thing about "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" which it turns out wasn't as stupid as it seems (although it was pretty strained).

Yes, Chris, as I stated b4, Aquinas was an obfuscator, couldn't reconcile conflict between theology (delusion based illogical lies) and Aristotelian deductive/inductive logic.

Since there can truly be no reconciliation between irrational lies based on delusion/hallucinations and almost truthful logic, Aquinas was forced to simply make up garbage or bigger lies.

He is the reason why the Catholic church doctrine is so absolutely DUMB and IRRATIONAL!

Aquinas probably dreamt most of it up during one of his Temporal Lobe Epileptic hallucinations.

Christian theology only became even more stupid and irrational because of Aquinas.

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