Author Topic: Chime in with your Reasons That a Benevolent God is Unlikely  (Read 249 times)

0 Members and 3 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline YouCantHandleTheTruth

  • Freshman
  • *
  • Posts: 33
  • Darwins +6/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Chime in with your Reasons That a Benevolent God is Unlikely
« on: September 17, 2014, 09:45:08 AM »
I thought it might be interesting to start a topic that lists the reasons why us agnostic/atheists believe that a God of any sort, particularly a benevolent one, is not likely to exist.  Of course, we come to this conclusion based on what is observable in nature.  We can give facts here, and the theist/deist will reply with "Well you just don't understand how God works, God is mysterious."  But that's just pure speculation - so if we deal only in facts, we can better arrive at a reasonable conclusion.  I'll start with 3...

1.  As Sam Harris pointed out in his debate with William Lane Craig, 9 million children under the age of 5 die each year.

2.  The requirement to eat simply to survive, and starvation occurs on some level all over the world - with all species.

3.  The countless proposed Gods and religions from the beginning of time, and the differences between them.  Different regions of the world all recognized the need for food and clothing, and they came up with different ideas for both.  Not surprisingly, they may have all recognized a need to create a being greater than ourselves as a source of comfort, and again came up with all different kinds of ideas.

I hope to hear some interesting reasons that I haven't thought of before.   Thanks in advance to all who contribute.

Offline Mrjason

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1239
  • Darwins +89/-2
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Chime in with your Reasons That a Benevolent God is Unlikely
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2014, 10:00:52 AM »
Because benevolent is a subjective term. A god being that was benevolent would need to be benevolent to all things at all times, or it wouldn't be godlike. As benevolent is subjective and therefore necessarily contradictory it is impossible to be benevolent to all things at all times.

Offline Disciple of Sagan

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 975
  • Darwins +60/-0
  • Gender: Female
  • Current mood: Malcontent
Re: Chime in with your Reasons That a Benevolent God is Unlikely
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2014, 11:20:31 PM »
Because benevolent is a subjective term. A god being that was benevolent would need to be benevolent to all things at all times, or it wouldn't be godlike. As benevolent is subjective and therefore necessarily contradictory it is impossible to be benevolent to all things at all times.

Case in point; a "God" that selects a certain tribe over all others to be his "chosen people" ( the Israelites).

On a grander scale... it's impossible to reconcile a benevolent "Creator" that holds collective humanity's best interests at heart with a hostile universe he himself designed that has in the past and most likely will again put our very survival as a species at risk (Extinction level events such as large meteorites, solar flares, gamma ray bursts etc.)
The cosmos is also within us. We are made of star stuff.

The only thing bigger than the universe is humanity's collective sense of self-importance.

Offline ParkingPlaces

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 6358
  • Darwins +748/-6
  • Gender: Male
  • Hide and Seek World Champion since 1958!
Re: Chime in with your Reasons That a Benevolent God is Unlikely
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2014, 11:59:44 PM »
 A real benevolent god would be morally superior to me. The christian one isn't.
Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline eh!

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1309
  • Darwins +46/-30
  • Gender: Male
  • jimmy hendrix is jesus
Re: Chime in with your Reasons That a Benevolent God is Unlikely
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2014, 12:29:44 AM »
I have just had this discussion with a theist, the answer is that what may seem obviously evil to us (even believers) is by definition good if god does it.

god is also benevolent cos even all those children that die early and horribly for no good reason were given the gift of life and the chance to be saved if they only would have been born in the right country at the right time to the right parents.

thirdly god is benevolent cos he could kick your butt right now but chooses not to - see benevolent.
Signature goes here...

Offline wright

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1797
  • Darwins +77/-1
  • Gender: Male
  • "Sleep like a log, snore like a chainsaw."
Re: Chime in with your Reasons That a Benevolent God is Unlikely
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2014, 01:01:44 AM »
A benevolent god would have, at the very least, clear ethical teachings that were superior to anything mankind could devise. Certainly none of the Abrahamic sects have such a deity, or indeed any religion that I'm familiar with. Said superior ethics would also have been universally communicated to every human population very early in human history.

But lo: we don't see any such code beyond what reciprocal altruism and normal human empathy can easily account for.
Live a good life... If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.
--Marcus Aurelius

Offline kcrady

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1276
  • Darwins +388/-1
  • Gender: Male
  • Your Friendly Neighborhood Cephalopod Overlord
    • My blog
Re: Chime in with your Reasons That a Benevolent God is Unlikely
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2014, 01:09:40 AM »
A "benevolent" deity is, by definition, one that acts in accordance with "benevolence," however defined.  If the deity is also powerful locally[1], a major anticipated consequence of those two characteristics (benevolence, and power) is a pattern of manifested divine behavior that is consistent with benevolence, but not also with malevolence, or indifference.  Since no such pattern of divine behavior is in evidence, a benevolent god or goddess must therefore be either non-existent, or locally powerless.[2]
 1. I.e., here on Earth; let's say at least as powerful as Superman to count as a "deity."
 2. I.O.W., it would be possible that a benevolent goddess exists, and She helps the sapient polyps of Zeta Reticuli, but She can't reach Earth and/or is unaware of its existence.  Natuarally, an omnimax deity does not get this sort of "out."
"The question of whether atheists are, you know, right, typically gets sidestepped in favor of what is apparently the much more compelling question of whether atheists are jerks."

--Greta Christina

Online One Above All

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 10938
  • Darwins +284/-37
  • Gender: Male
  • Supreme ruler of the multiverse; All In One
Re: Chime in with your Reasons That a Benevolent God is Unlikely
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2014, 02:13:30 AM »
The images would be too graphic for anyone to handle.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline bertatberts

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1412
  • Darwins +49/-8
  • Gender: Male
  • Humanists. Not perfect. Not forgiven. Responsible.
Re: Chime in with your Reasons That a Benevolent God is Unlikely
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2014, 02:52:42 AM »
This was posted up here by Mr Friday a former member in 2008. I hope it helps.


" Reasons for not believing

* There is not one iota of unequivocal evidence that any God exists.
    * God cannot explain all that exists because God itself cannot be explained. This claim just gratuitously swaps one mystery for another.
    * Religions do not explain any mechanism or process whereby God created everything. It is effectively an appeal to magic.
    * Religious faith is generally indistinguishable from gullibility. Trust and faith, as human concepts, are normally based on experience and reason. Religious faith is necessarily based on belief in unproved and unknowable things.
    * A god or anything that exists outside the realm of natural reality is necessarily unknowable, unintelligible and incoherent. It is therefore irrational to believe in something that is supernatural.
    * Religious scripture:
          o is man-made
          o contains many translation and interpretation errors
          o is often self-contradictory
          o often contradicts known facts
          o promotes conversion by violence
          o calls for punishment and death to unbelievers
          o contains virtually no specific and unequivocal predictions
          o contains only vague predictions beyond its own time
          o contains many failed prophecies, predictions and unfulfilled promises of God
    * Scripture contains too much that is vague, metaphorical and symbolic to be instructions from a divine being to humans. A perfect being would be expected to be able to communicate much better than that.
    * In order to render most of scripture useful, it must necessarily be interpreted. This makes it easily twisted to support nefarious purposes.
    * The problems with scriptures outweigh any good messages they may contain. If read at all, they should be considered opinion and philosophy and taken with a grain of salt.
    * Morals are based on human sympathy and empathy, not on divine guidance. Establishing moral codes based on theism is unnecessary, riddled with contradictions, and fraught with danger.
    * Religion is divisive in that it pits groups of otherwise indistinguishable people against one another. There are already more than enough differences for humans to fight over. And religion is the most intransigent of such divisions because many people feel it is a divine duty to revile those who believe differently than they do even if they don't see the reason in it.
    * Religions are generally intractable when it comes to substantive compromise with other religions or belief systems.
    * All suggested ways to perceive God rely on internal mechanisms that are subject to personal desires, suggestion, and mistakes. On the question of communicating with God, religion insidiously asks us all to deceive ourselves.
    * People are animals. We are only special due to our more developed brain. (We share 98% of our DNA with chimpanzees)
    * Abrahamic religions teach that the earth is only about 6000 to 10000 years old. All claims of a young earth are refuted by volumes of clear and mutually corroborating evidence in multiple scientific disciplines as well as a host of mutually confirming dating techniques that are not subjective or rationalized.
    * Every culture that has existed has had God myths and other superstitions. This is often used as an argument for the existence of God. Rather than indicating that there is a true God, this indicates that people are simply attracted to the idea.
    * Goodness, truth, wisdom and all other purported attributes of God are human concepts. When applied to a presumed entity so completely different in kind as to be supernatural, they are meaningless. The idea of God is thus incoherent.
    * Infinity is a concept humans cannot comprehend except in a limited mathematical sense. If God is infinite, this also renders him unintelligible.
    * Belief in an afterlife is insidious and detrimental to social responsibility and mental health. It demeans actual life and frequently leads to the notion that killing someone is, at least conceivably, doing them a favor.
    * Organized religion wastes untold amounts of money and resources that could be used to care for people, promote real knowledge, and advance the human race.
    * Theism puts God above people thereby making people subservient, unimportant and expendable.
    * Religion relies on guilt, fear and outlandish promises to gain obedience.
    * Theism generally precludes any possibility of testing God or questioning his existence substantively. It is something like the wizard of Oz saying, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."
    * The methods used in proselytizing for religion bear an unmistakable resemblance to the methods of confidence men. But the scriptures consider this the great commission of mankind.
    * There are many good rational and logical arguments against theism but not one argument in favor of it that doesn't rely on a fallacy or assumption.
    * There are so many Gods put forth by thousands of religions that no one could ever be certain of picking the correct one, assuming that one exists.
    * Prayer is totally subjective and cannot be shown to have any more efficacy than pure chance.
    * There is no discernable difference between believing in God and having an imaginary friend.
    * People generally rely on facts and evidence in every human endeavor except religion.
    * Unequivocal miracles do not occur.
    * God supposedly speaks directly to the human spirit. This must be, at least partly, the same concept as mind. People who receive messages in their minds are invariably delusional.
    * There is no positive correlation between belief in God and being a moral person.
    * Populations that are predominantly theistic are almost invariably poor and undereducated. The converse is almost invariably true of populations that are predominantly atheistic.
    * Populations that are predominantly theistic almost invariably have higher general crime rates, higher violent crime rates, higher murder rates, higher infant mortality rates, more disease and starvation as well as inadequate healthcare. The converse is almost invariably true of populations that are predominantly atheistic.
    * Belief in religion has spawned uncounted cults that draw people in by appealing to the concept of faith without proof and the promise of prophets to come. Some examples are: Jim Jones and the People's Temple, David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, Marshal Applewhite and Heaven's Gate. These groups had religious followers who were convinced to brutalize, mutilate and kill themselves and their children on the basis of this kind of blind faith.
    * Religion has an extremely violent history that includes such things as crusades, inquisitions, witch hunts, genocide, terrorism and holy war. Untold millions have died in the name of religious icons and for religious beliefs.
    * Religions have a long history of misogyny.
    * Religion can be and has been used to support the concept of slavery.
    * Religious dogma is practically immune to the incorporation of new facts. The best it can do is strained reinterpretation.
    * The argument that God cannot be proven not to exist is irrelevant when one considers that to do so requires that the concept of a supernatural God be intelligible and coherent, which it is not.
    * There is a well known argument commonly called "The Problem of Evil". It basically says that if an omnipotent and omnibenevolent God exists, unnecessary or gratuitous evil would not exist in the world. Thus if God sees this type of evil and does nothing he is either not omnibenevolent because he doesn't care or not omnipotent because he is unable to stop it. There are many counter-arguments that have been used. However the only one that really could defeat the Problem of Evil is if one says that we cannot apply human standards to decide what is or is not gratuitous evil. This may well be true, but that argument renders God unintelligible and meaningless to humans. Either way, the concept of God seems to be highly doubtful.
    * Theists claim that God has given humans free will. However, this free will is anything but free. The choices are forced on pain of death and eternal suffering. It is equivalent to having a slave and saying something like: "I grant you your freedom to leave at any time. But if you do, I will torture you mercilessly and kill you as slowly as possible.""

Thanks again to Mr Friday.
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Offline YRM_DM

  • Graduate
  • ****
  • Posts: 334
  • Darwins +69/-1
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Chime in with your Reasons That a Benevolent God is Unlikely
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2014, 11:04:58 AM »
A real benevolent god would be morally superior to me. The christian one isn't.

^^This

Parking Places... you haven't ordered any babies to be dashed from walls or husbands to drag their wives to the temple to drink poison that forces an abortion to prove they cheated so you can kill them lately have you?   Because the God of the OT commands those things.   How do you know YOU are GOOD without God?  How can you tell you're good if you can't get that from a guy who flooded the earth and killed millions cuz he was angry?

Also a real benevolent god wouldn't:
- Create a world that appeared not to require them, then make it a requirement to believe in them under penalty of eternal torture.
- Communicate poorly.
- Require a million excuses made to why they allow so much pain and suffering and never answer prayer.

You can't spell BELIEVE without LIE...  and a few other letters.  B and E and V and I think E.

Offline JeffPT

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 2021
  • Darwins +203/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm a lead farmer mutha fucka
Re: Chime in with your Reasons That a Benevolent God is Unlikely
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2014, 09:32:18 PM »
Pediatric oncology. 
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline flapdoodle64

  • Graduate
  • ****
  • Posts: 435
  • Darwins +50/-1
  • Gender: Male
    • My Movie Reviews
Re: Chime in with your Reasons That a Benevolent God is Unlikely
« Reply #11 on: Yesterday at 12:10:00 PM »
I was a social worker for 20 years. During that time I saw plenty of people born with horrible birth defects and who spent entire lifetimes experiencing constant pain or discomfort (physical and/or emotional) and without proper brain functioning to even remotely understand their own discomfort. These persons could not have understood any kind of preaching or theology, much less be able to utter even a silent prayer for mercy or serenity (which, according to theists, god may or may not have granted).

These are the persons who used to be called 'basket cases' in the old days...extreme birth defects, requiring them to be placed in special beds or chairs to prevent contractures and pressure sores, people who never learn to walk, talk, or even have control over their limbs. Such persons are unusual nowadays in the USA but are still are being born and because of medical technology often live into middle age or longer. Such persons are rarely discussed in public but I spent an entire year of my career specializing on a small group of such persons.  Just to make it clear, I am not denigrating these persons and I am not suggesting that a disabled persons life is worth any less than another person.

Perhaps, in some bizarre way, the loved ones of these persons might have learned some 'lesson' from the suffering of these persons (IMO unlikely, but possible), but a benevolent being would not create millions of people who will simply spend life suffering with no hope of relief and no means of understanding their situation.  A benevolent being would not condemn millions of people to suffer with no hope for relief, unless you count death as a relief. 

This just one thing I have observed that leads me to the speculation that if Yahweh exists he is not benevolent. There are other examples of course...

Offline YRM_DM

  • Graduate
  • ****
  • Posts: 334
  • Darwins +69/-1
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Chime in with your Reasons That a Benevolent God is Unlikely
« Reply #12 on: Yesterday at 02:05:32 PM »
I was a social worker for 20 years. During that time I saw plenty of people born with horrible birth defects and who spent entire lifetimes experiencing constant pain or discomfort (physical and/or emotional) and without proper brain functioning to even remotely understand their own discomfort. These persons could not have understood any kind of preaching or theology, much less be able to utter even a silent prayer for mercy or serenity (which, according to theists, god may or may not have granted).

These are the persons who used to be called 'basket cases' in the old days...extreme birth defects, requiring them to be placed in special beds or chairs to prevent contractures and pressure sores, people who never learn to walk, talk, or even have control over their limbs. Such persons are unusual nowadays in the USA but are still are being born and because of medical technology often live into middle age or longer. Such persons are rarely discussed in public but I spent an entire year of my career specializing on a small group of such persons.  Just to make it clear, I am not denigrating these persons and I am not suggesting that a disabled persons life is worth any less than another person.

Perhaps, in some bizarre way, the loved ones of these persons might have learned some 'lesson' from the suffering of these persons (IMO unlikely, but possible), but a benevolent being would not create millions of people who will simply spend life suffering with no hope of relief and no means of understanding their situation.  A benevolent being would not condemn millions of people to suffer with no hope for relief, unless you count death as a relief. 

This just one thing I have observed that leads me to the speculation that if Yahweh exists he is not benevolent. There are other examples of course...

My step-daughter is as you describe above.
You can't spell BELIEVE without LIE...  and a few other letters.  B and E and V and I think E.

Online xyzzy

  • Undergraduate
  • ***
  • Posts: 136
  • Darwins +48/-0
  • "Nothing happens"
    • xyzzy
Re: Chime in with your Reasons That a Benevolent God is Unlikely
« Reply #13 on: Yesterday at 02:37:01 PM »
Just reading the poignant postings above, it's hard to comprehend that we even have to deal with this question on such a regular basis.

In terms of examples, oh I could probably give you 42. But the actual answer, although theists don't like it. And they really don't like it. Is..

Life, The Universe and Everything.

Seriously.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 02:40:59 PM by xyzzy »
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool -- Richard Feynman
You are in a maze of twisty little religions, all alike -- xyzzy

Offline nogodsforme

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 6510
  • Darwins +849/-6
  • Gender: Female
  • Jehovah's Witness Protection Program
Re: Chime in with your Reasons That a Benevolent God is Unlikely
« Reply #14 on: Yesterday at 06:23:20 PM »
Ummmm. Ebola? Case closed.  :P
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline skeptic54768

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2538
  • Darwins +48/-418
  • Gender: Male
  • Christianity is the most beautiful religion.
  • User is on moderator watch listWatched
Re: Chime in with your Reasons That a Benevolent God is Unlikely
« Reply #15 on: Today at 01:41:34 AM »
I can certainly see how the atheists can think that God (if He exists) is not omnibenevolent.

But I feel that upon logical examination of the facts, that conclusion is wrong.
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - Jesus (said 2,000 years ago and still true today.)

Online One Above All

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 10938
  • Darwins +284/-37
  • Gender: Male
  • Supreme ruler of the multiverse; All In One
Re: Chime in with your Reasons That a Benevolent God is Unlikely
« Reply #16 on: Today at 01:44:53 AM »
But I feel that upon logical examination of the facts, that conclusion is wrong.

Of course your conclusion is wrong. There are no gods, benevolent or no.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline skeptic54768

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2538
  • Darwins +48/-418
  • Gender: Male
  • Christianity is the most beautiful religion.
  • User is on moderator watch listWatched
Re: Chime in with your Reasons That a Benevolent God is Unlikely
« Reply #17 on: Today at 01:52:41 AM »

Of course your conclusion is wrong. There are no gods, benevolent or no.

Well now, that's not a fact. That's your opinion. It's fine to have opinions, and in my opinion, you're wrong.
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - Jesus (said 2,000 years ago and still true today.)

Online One Above All

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 10938
  • Darwins +284/-37
  • Gender: Male
  • Supreme ruler of the multiverse; All In One
Re: Chime in with your Reasons That a Benevolent God is Unlikely
« Reply #18 on: Today at 02:07:11 AM »
Well now, that's not a fact.

Yet another wrong conclusion from you.

That's your opinion. It's fine to have opinions, and in my opinion, you're wrong.

Believe it or not, an opinion can be based on wrong information, like yours.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline bertatberts

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1412
  • Darwins +49/-8
  • Gender: Male
  • Humanists. Not perfect. Not forgiven. Responsible.
Re: Chime in with your Reasons That a Benevolent God is Unlikely
« Reply #19 on: Today at 06:14:34 AM »
I can certainly see how the atheists can think that God (if He exists) is not omnibenevolent.

But I feel that upon logical examination of the facts,
Well it most certain cant be a logical conclusion, on your part, the evidence show that. If you actually do critique it you will see why.
Quote from: skeptic54768
that conclusion is wrong.
Thus the conclusion is correct, but do feel free to give evidence as to why you came to your clearly unreasoned conclusion.
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Online jynnan tonnix

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1771
  • Darwins +87/-1
  • Gender: Female
Re: Chime in with your Reasons That a Benevolent God is Unlikely
« Reply #20 on: Today at 07:01:49 AM »

Of course your conclusion is wrong. There are no gods, benevolent or no.

Well now, that's not a fact. That's your opinion. It's fine to have opinions, and in my opinion, you're wrong.

So it seems there are opinions on both sides of the matter. The atheist view has been pretty roundly defended in the thread thus far, and has made sense to me. Would you care to expound on the reasoning behind your opinion  that the logical stance is to see the omnibenevolence in god despite what might appear as evidence to the contrary?