Just keeping score: there's been 23 comments, many by defenders of the argument from evil, and 0 numbered-premise arguments. Do I have to get out William Rowe and Keith Parsons and Paul Draper and try to supply some of these myself?
VR: "OK, could you formulate these claims in a numbered-premise argument? "
Anon: Um, no. I'm not really interested in formulating a logical problem of evil argument. It is always possible to justify any amount of evil using a logical format. Pretty much speaking from the gut here.
VR (new): So you argument is an emotional, and not a logical argument, and you admit this?? Wow!
VR: "First we have to know what is meant by lifting a finger. On what grounds do we deny that God isn't doing plenty to keep things from being a whole lot worse than they are now?"
Anon: It all depends on what kind of God we are talking about here. If God is all-powerful and all-good, it is hard to understand why things are not much, much better than they are now. I.E., this world does not seem to me to be the type that an omnipowerful, omniscient, and omnibenevolent one would create.
VR: Here's where the numbered-premise argument would help. Are you contending that an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent being would make the best of all possible worlds? If that's what you're saying, then you've got to contend with the arguments of Alvin Plantinga and Robert Merrihew Adams, who say that this is a false premise.
Anon: When discussing this with Christian theists I often have the sense that there is a lack of imagination regarding the degree or amount of suffering that is taking place on earth every moment.
VR: And you think the authors of Scripture didn't know about how much suffering there was in the world? Just for starters, anaesthesia was centuries away from being invented. Do you think that Apostles, who founded Christianity, were naive about the amount of suffering? If you believe that, the Brooklyn Bridge is for sale for ten grand.
Carr: It is nice to know that there no guarentees of a suffering-free existence in Heaven.
Or at the least, such guarantees should be treated by Victor with the same scepticism that he would treat a guarantee by God that he will not create any further pathogens along the lines of HIV.
VR: What God has promised to those who have submitted their wills completely to God should not be used as a benchmark for what we should expect God to allow a rebellious human race to endure. Can we have done with this canard?
Carr: What would Jesus do if he saw cruelty and suffering and starvation and drought?
And then equate Jesus with God.
VR: I'm glad Carr is asking what Jesus would do. Maybe we can get him a leather bracelet to help him to remember that question at all times. Jesus alleviated suffering in accordance with his mission on earth. He didn't alleviate all the suffering he saw, surely.
Loftus: Vic, you ask, "Where do we draw the line?" That's like asking "which whisker is the one, such that when it's plucked, no longer leaves a beard?" It's perfectly reasonable to say what abeard it without that level of specification. So this line drawing argument does not apply to this particular world. This particular world has senseless suffering in it, and this is the world we're looking at to determine if a good God exists...not some other one.
VR: You *know* that the suffering is senseless? What you know is that it looks senseless to you, and maybe to me. And have you proved that a perfectly good God would eliminate all senseless suffering? Have you even read Adams' "Must God Create the Best?"
Anon, quoting me: "If it becomes obvious that God is relieving suffering in the world on a massive scale, doesn't human nature suggest that we will just let God get on with the business of relieving suffering and attend to other things? "
And this would be a bad thing, how?
VR: Because according to Christianity, this earth and everything in it, including all the human suffering we find there, lasts only a few centuries, while human character lasts forever. Something that alleviates our suffering at the cost of harming our character is not a bargain if Christians are right.
Refuting the argument from evil should not be this easy. I wonder what is going wrong.