05 January, 2011

Do Tummy Aches Disprove God? | First Things

Do Tummy Aches Disprove God? | First Things


  1. Interesting essay.

    I myself have never heard of that type of argument used to attempt to disprove the existence of god - merely to determine that he cannot be wholly good (and therefore opposed to any suffering) and simultaneously all-powerful (and therefore able to freely eliminate any suffering).
    This question has no bearing whatsoever on the existence of some concepts of god, but appear to have substantial bearing on the common Christian concept of god.

    More to the point, typical Christian thought appear to hold that god is fully capable of creating a world free from evil, sin and suffering, while still retaining full free will for all inhabitants - Eden was supposedly like this, and heaven also has these characteristics.

  2. “Could the suffering have been prevented without losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse?” Only an omniscient being could answer with certitude, yet Rowe’s premise begs the question by assuming that the answer is affirmative.

    First of all I'm glad that this writer uses the expression "begs the question" properly. But then I'll respond by saying the autheor in his question assumes there would be a greater evil caused by a diety preventing evil and suffering.

    A line of reasoning that could cause the faithful to wonder if humans efforts to alleviate the suffering caused by events such as the earthquake in Haiti could lead to greater suffering. Who are we mere mortals to question the actions of an omniscient being.

  3. Larry Green08 January, 2011

    Anri :
    ‘ that type of argument has been around for a very very long time and you haven’t heard of it ? Well surely now you should be finding some ground to ascending belief. After all this you cant possibly still be in no mans land.
    “ My tummy hurts therefore there is no God .” That doesn’t sound like an absurd argument to me at all. It sounds like a valid but weak argument based on what might be false premises.
    1. Are tummy aches a form of harm being done or are tummy aches a signal of harm being done to the physical and/or psychological well-being of a sentient creature.

    2. Harm is evil ... I guess - but isn’t a signal that evil is being done a good thing.

    3. We have already shown that evil exists negatively in the absence of good. God does create evil insofar as it is attached to good.

    4. Thank God He did not prevent my tummy ache ! As a result I quit drinking anti freeze.

    5. Ergo Maybe there is a God.

  4. Larry Green10 January, 2011

    William Rowe’s ‘ primary’ argument :

    1. There exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.

    2. An omniscient, wholly good being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could, unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.

    3. (Therefore) There does not exist an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good being. (Rowe 1979: 336)

    My evaluation of the same argument :

    The first premise correctly states the obvious that there exists instances of intense suffering and then the author goes on in the same sentence to link the obvious with an unfounded and irrational assumption.
    Along with a fallacy of equivocation ,William Rowe has not considered the truth that human suffering has its origin in the universal ( formal ) element of our composition and therefore is the direct result of free will. Suffering is an individual experience only if we remove ourselves from those in need and who are suffering.
    Evil is the absence of good. I.e. a thing that lacks the being natural to its proper function. An eye that does not see is said to be evil ( not a moral evil) insofar as it lacks the being of sight. Immoral action is said to be evil insofar as it lacks virtue in it’s origin. The development and exercise of this inner stability ( virtue ) is what renders us mature and most fully human and more specifically to the point in question it opens us fully to the empathic principle inscribed within. It is so easy to blame God for not preventing the suffering that I could have prevented or that I could alleviate though not without in some way sharing the pain.
    The second premise presupposes that the first premise is true.
    The implicit premise which is in fact what Rowe,s arguemnt rest most heavily is that God did not create man free from sin and suffering. He’s wrong.
    William Rowe’s conclusion may be true but there is nothing to support such a conclusion


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