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Hi, this your perennial philosoher cataloging the various explanations put forth by major faiths for to explain thy SHIT HAPPENS.  The greater the god the greater the bull shit, with the pinacle of stench coming from the Christian theologians who hold that their God  is the creator, omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly beneficent.



Well Alan, I am again back to trying to send you an attachment. This time I thought I'd send something I worth discussing and saving. It lays open the incongruous claims of the believers. I like "harm" better than "evil" because it is more inclusive and it doesn't imply an agent with bad intent. Maybe you could add to this list.

1. The Gods are not involved (Epicurus' position) because they are too perfect to need anything from mortals.  They are blissfully content in their own realm. 

2. No Gods (atheist's position).

3. The chief God is not so powerful as to undo or confound the workings of the dark (evil, harm causing) gods (Hindus, Hebrews, et al).*

4. Yahweh is a lesser God (the higher gods are not involved in earthly affairs(Gnostics). The creation of man by Yahweh is thus imperfect. 

5. God is testing us to see WHO is worthy of the kingdom of heaven (Christians). (But why test given that their god is omniscient?)

6. The unfortuitous things that occur to man are part of the just proportioning worked out by the 3 Fates (ancient Greek Religion) of rewards and punishments. This proportioning is just given the myriad of factors including the complex hierarchies of gods, kings, demigods, ordinary people, and distant past acts. A different result would have consequence--not apparent to us--that would result in the long run in a less just proportioning.

7. Harm is a result of past life transgressions as well as those in the present life. The punishment is carried on the books into this life. Suffering pays off the past-life debt. (Sikhs, Buddhists, et al).

8. There is no evil for everything is a part of God, and God does not contain evil (pantheists). And since we are a part of God, then harm is a mere illusion, for God cannot be harmed.

9. Every unfortuitous event that befalls a people is for grievous transgression against god's laws, thus all instance of harm are merited either because of the individual's actions or the actions of the community. (Hebrews & Christians). It is just for a god to punish for a transgression. Thus the Caltholics held that the earthquake of Lisbon was held to be punishment for allowing the Jews to live in that city.  The Prostestants held the punishment was for Catholicism of the inhabitants. 

* I am not claiming to give the position of all, or even a majority of the sects of a religion, but rather merely to list the solution proffered by at least one sect of a major religion.


Remember, Alan, that this is the best of all possible worlds.  A perfect god (so the Christians tell us about Him) could not create other.


Our Judeo – Christian – Muslim heritage merits special attention.  I have often wondered about the people who have made Yahweh into a monster.  I also wondered how the humanitarian sentiments expressed in the Sermon on the Mount fail affect their god.  Xenophanes (was the first known to us) to have written about ungodly gods.  Homer and Hesiod ascribed to the Gods all things that are a shame and disgrace among mortals, stealing and adulteries and deceiving one another.”

The anonymous authors of the Old Testament ascribed to Yahweh all things that are a shame and disgrace among mortals:  jealousy, pride, vengefulness, favoritism, cruelty, arbitrariness.  And by the third century the Christian church had heaped cruelties so monstrous that the words of John Stuart Mill (describing his father’s views) are beyond dispute:


Nations have represented their gods as wicked, in a constantly increasing progression, that mankind have gone on adding trait after trait till they reached the most perfect conception of wickedness which the human mind can devise, and have called this God, and prostrated themselves before it. This ne plus ultra of wickedness he considered to be embodied in what is commonly presented to mankind as the creed of Christianity. Think (he used to say) of a being who would make a hell-who would create the human race with the infallible foreknowledge, and therefore with the intention-that the great majority of them were to be consigned to horrible and everlasting torment.  



Obviously the fault is man’s.  Make Twain note this:  If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.”

For those wishing to be entertained on the topic of Christian faith, there are Mark Twain's best satire and the illustrated where is god's son?  On point is the list of the basic reasons to be without religion.  On the issue of post-death existence are works by John Stuart Mills and Lucretius the Roman Epicurean.  In a passage that merits reading for its conciseness and clarity, John Stuart Mills explains his father’s opposition to religion for its being the greatest of evils and the results of these evils are describe in James Haught’s Holly Horror. 


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The skeptic is one who judges all things according to the evidence.  The common herd affirms many things to a degree well beyond what the evidence supports; and conversely doubts that which is worthy of greater affirmation.  The humanistic skeptic applies a second measure, that of  harm resulting from such beliefs.  Issues of economics and politics, of religion, quackery and corporate medicine, and of imprudent behavior top the harm done list.   Education and scientific psychology are gateways to following the dictates of reason.