Why Doesn’t God Intervene? (QCCA #1)

This is the first in a series responding directly to an article at Real Truth Online titled, 31 Questions Christians Can’t Answer. I will take and answer each question in order. Many are difficult some are not.

Question #1: Why hasn’t God intervened on the tyrants throughout history to prevent far worse atrocities than in the Old Testament days in which he did intervene?

 

On an intellectual level there are really three components to this question that need to be addressed, the moral question (what is moral and how is it determined), God’s will (Perfect vs. Permissive vs. Overriding), and what I’ll call the Unfathomability Proposition. These are classic apologetic questions.

  1. In order to categorize something as evil you assume there is good
  2. If you assume there is good you assume there is a moral law by which to differentiate between good and evil
  3. if there is a moral law there must be a moral law giver

Since the non-believer asking the original question is trying to disprove God (the moral law giver) he must first address the question of why anything is wrong with anything.

I suspect, in the end, we would largely agree on specific atrocities. My argument is simply that the atheist has little objective reason to undergird the choice to call a thing evil.

Once we’ve established that tyrants are bad, atrocities are wrong, and why, we approach God’s role and responsibility in it all. Depending on your particular translation or paraphrase Isaiah 45:7 likely says anything from God sends “bad times” to He “creates evil”. This seems like a problem. How can a good God create evil or at a minimum send bad times?

There are three forms in which God’s will manifests itself, his perfect will, also called his directive will, is what should happen. Adam and Eve should have turned the serpent away and never eaten of the fruit that God told them not to eat. If what Adam and Eve should have done is an example of God’s perfect will then what they actually did is an example of God’s permissive will. Another more common term is free will. Our free choices are still considered God’s will for two important reasons. One, because He can override it anytime he wants in a variety of ways as we’ll see, and two, because His ends will still be accomplished in spite of violations of His perfect will. Permissive will encompasses a wide range of possibilities. It is what could happen. It’s important to note, however, that allowing something and causing something are not identical concepts.

Finally, there is God’s overriding will, it is what must happen. God told Jonah to go to Ninevah, Jonah told God no, so God had a whale swallow him until he agreed to go. God created a circumstance that overrode Jonah’s will. The interplay of God’s perfect will, our free choices, and His overriding providential creative sovereign authority sets up what I refer to as the Unfathomability Proposition. Isn’t it possible that an all knowing, all seeing, perfect being could have morally justifiable reasons, incomprehensible to those of us of finite mind and morality, to “allow” or even to cause events that to us might seems atrocious?

Answering the question in the affirmative doesn’t make you a believer, but admitting it does de-fang the question quite a bit. No?

 

What do you think? Let me know. I love to debate so feel free to tell me where I’m wrong or ask questions if something is unclear, or correct my grammar, or just insult me using the f-word a lot as you new atheists tend to do….. Let’s make it a conversation.

Advertisements

29 comments

  1. “Since the non-believer asking the original question is trying to disprove God (the moral law giver) he must first address the question of why anything is wrong with anything.”

    This is absurd. I cant stand when Christians assume that atheists and agnostics cant do moral and ethical things unless they acknowledge there had to be some god or law giver. It’s the most absurd stance there is. People do good because we all have a natural inclination to treat our fellow man in a decent, respectful way. We simply treat others respectful because WE want to be treated good a respectful. It’s a golden rule type deal—and no, the golden rule is mentioned nowhere in the Bible. Get off your high horse and stop spewing that complete BS to people, especially intelligent people.

    Like

    • Larry, I hope we can both agree that a lot of religious debates devolve to insults pretty quickly, and that insults aren’t evidence.
      I’m sorry if I was unclear. I’m not saying that you can’t be moral without God, I’m saying without the moral law giver objective morality doesn’t exist. As I’ll address in my next post (responding to question #2) “good” and “bad” are measurements, and to measure you must have an objective standard for your measurement. The premise also challenges you, if I’m wrong show me with evidence.

      Like

      • There was not one Insult in my post. I simply stated that your statement was absurd because it IS absurd. There does not have to be a law giver for morality to exist. All it requires is a person who wants to be treated good and with respect, because if that person is treated in a humane manner, that triggers him to treat others in a humane manner. How do you explain the fact that even with the existence of god’s law showing the believer the “correct” and “moral” way, that even christians commit atrocities against others? How could this be possible if the law of god himself is powerful enough to prevent someone from committing evil acts? You refuse to answer this.

        Like

      • Saying its absurd doesn’t make it so. Without a transcendent, objective, moral standard the best you can give me is opinion. Define these words you use: good, respect, humane. Where do you get these definitions? How have you come to know them?

        As to the question of why Christians, knowing the law, and following the law giver still violate the law and why doesn’t God stop them? Like I said before, it doesn’t necessarily follow that knowing what is right means you will do what is right. Also it doesn’t necessarily follow that God having the power to do something, no matter how good a thing it may seem to us to be, that He must do it. So people (all people, Christian and non-christian alike) do bad things because they can. God doesn’t always stop it because He doesn’t have to. Any other reasons for either are simply layers on top of that.

        Like

      • I think morality is primarily defined by what society’s standards are. For example, is it wrong to kill a baby? Most societies say it’s wrong. But in the Pygmy society if twins are born one is killed. The reason is the conditions are so harsh both will die if both are allowed to live? Is that immoral? I think not (given the Pygymy society). … But I think you also have to include this universal standard in the definition of morality: It’s wrong (immoral) to unnecessarily hurt other people.

        Like

      • For clarification purposes, how do you arrive at your one universal standard? Are you firm on the use of the word “people” as opposed to broader language?

        Like

      • I impose my (Heinlein’s) “universal standard” because some kind of stop gap is needed to prevent society’s from doing great harm. … And sure people can be expanded to include animals.

        Like

      • Heinlein is, of course, your direct source, but I’m trying to get at whether or not you have a more rational basis than simply “Robert Heinlein said”.

        Like

      • I cite Heinlein because he captured my thought (and he had a great mind). But I have to also say that there is no real “rational basis” for his thought other than I like how the thought helps keep a lid on what I see as horrors people can inflict on each other. … The core of thinking on morality is still that it stems from societal morays (and can thus vary).

        Like

      • Isn’t objective morality based on reality? If atheists and agnostics dont accept that the Bible is reality, then their morality sure cant be objective can it?

        Like

      • “Heinlein is, of course, your direct source, but I’m trying to get at whether or not you have a more rational basis than simply “Robert Heinlein said”.”

        Why is Heinlein’s rational basis not acceptable just because he said it? You accept an abstract entity such as “god” because he “said it, right??

        Like

      • I didn’t say it was unacceptable. I’m asking clarifying questions in an effort to seriously consider a philosophical position I have not considered very deeply previously.

        Like

      • Yes, I know…you implied it was “irrational” because an actual living man said it. But an abstraction like “god” says it and you embrace it with open arms. No proof needed.

        Like

      • I can’t account for your reading of it, I’m sorry. I’ll just have to depend on njncguy to read it as I intended. If he is offended I’m sure he’ll let me know.

        Like

      • You stated you needed “a more rational basis”. That implies that Heinlein isn’t rational enough. Where am I reading that wrong? Oh and by the way, when are you going to tackle my other 30 questions?

        Like

      • I post on Wednesdays right now. Pay me to quit both of my other jobs and I’ll go daily just for you, sir. It would actually cost you pitifully little, lol.

        Like

      • Keep in mind, I didnt ask you to answer my questions at the beginning. You saw my blog and volunteered to do so. I didnt track you down and ask you to answer…..you came to me. You were the one who originally stated, “I will take and answer each question in order”. At this rate, you wont get to question 31 until the year 2019. Im just wondering when youre going to address each of these, or are you not going to?

        Like

      • I will address each in order. I post weekly, so considering there are 52 weeks in a year and you have 31 questions I anticipate getting to them all within the year. At this point when I am moved for one reason or another to post or host a guest post on any other subject I intend to publish those as one-offs probably on Friday’s so as not to interrupt the weekly flow of responses to your questions.

        Like

    • It doesn’t necessarily follow that because objective morality exists I must be moral. Therefore, knowing what is right, people still may, and often do do atrocious things, not in ignorance of what is right but in spite of the knowledge.

      Like

      • Say that I am correct and that god never existed…ever and the bible was never written. Are you telling me that human beings would not have ANY clue what morality is or what right and wrong is?? Is this really what youre saying? Are you saying it’s impossible that any people who are completely devoid of any knowledge of god can never do a kind, decent, moral humane thing?? The ONLY thing that is required for people to have any kind of decency for their fellow man is the fact that they THEMSELVES do not want to be treated in a bad way. Having said that, if a person does not want to be treated harshly or unkind, they will treat others with that same kindness. It requires NO higher power giving laws.

        God doesnt stop bad things because “he doesnt HAVE to”?? What kind of god IS this then that he would not WANT to intervene, especially during such horrendous human events like the holocaust and 9/11? What god would not WANT to intervene in these events? Youre telling me that god ONLY acts when he HAS to??? According to you, he never HAS to. If this is the case, then why did he supposedly intervene in the human events of the bible? he “didnt have to” then right? So, why did he THEN, but not now? Do you realize how absurd you sound?

        Suppose I witnessed a robbery on the street and I was completely able to stop the robber from attacking an old lady, but I sat back and watched it all and did nothing. A few minutes later, someone comes up to me and asks me why I didnt intervene. Would it be acceptable to tell them, “I didnt have to”?? The answer is obvious. So, tell me…why does god get a free pass on this when mere mortals wouldnt be able to??

        To answer your questions where did “good” “respect” and “humane” come from:

        Good…..first use, 12th century
        Respect…..first use, 14th century
        Humane…..first use …the year 1552

        Like

      • It really just seems like we’re talking in circles here. I’ve answered your questions to the best of my ability and unsurprisingly you’re unmoved. You’ve asked tough questions and made impassioned arguments and yet I am unmoved. Again, I appreciate your input but for me we’re nearing the point of creating more heat than light.

        Like

      • so, in other words, I didnt agree with you and even refuted you (based on the fact that youve ignored 95% of the posts Ive sent) so you’ve given up. Typical of the “truth” tellers. lol

        Like

  2. Do you know how ridiculous you sound when you say that God has 3 different kinds of “wills” (directive, permissive and overriding)? If his instructions for someone to do something can fall into different categories, tell me, what is the purpose of God giving ANY commandment? Example: If God tells us that we are to never to use the F word and we still do, that either has a consequence or it does not. You’re telling me that if someone chooses to use the F word anyway, despite God’s command to never use it, this could be seen as God possibly wanting this to happen? You said it yourself in the Adam and Eve analogy, when you said, “If what Adam and Eve should have done is an example of God’s perfect will then what they actually did is an example of God’s permissive will.” You’re saying here that Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command but despite the fact that they disobeyed, that also could have been gods will for them to disobey. ??????? Then why did God give a command at all then? What was the purpose? This is absurdity at it’s finest.

    Then, you say he has overriding will? Where do you get this stuff? Make it up? None of what you say here is found in the bible. So where do you get it? It’s just a big attempt for christians to explain away the unexplainable with a bunch of psychobabble and word games. When god gives a command, does he mean it or does he NOT mean it? Are there consequences or are there NOT consequences? What is the purpose of god issuing a COMMAND (key word here) if the response to the command (by humans) is going to met by god with three different categories that are found NOWHERE in the bible? This entire post by you has even further complicated the issue and did NOT answer the original question in the least. What sickens is me is when agnostics like me (yes, agnostic, not atheist) ask tough questions that you christians constantly ignore, you attempt to answer them with hermeneutics that are found nowhere in the bible at all. And you sit here and preach to me about evidence?? Tell me what passages of scripture and what books of the bible do you find anything mentioning god’s directive, permissive and overriding wills? It’s not there, and I know it’s not because I studied the bible in bible college. I wasnt an agnostic from birth. I was a christian once, and now Im agnostic. Dont approach this debate with me assuming I know nothing about the bible. You will lose.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s