Evil, pain, suffering, death
Within this website I explore whether there is a spiritual realm, a supernatural realm, containing God, mind, souls, consciousness with its contents (ideas, emotions, love, reason, etc) — this, from a purely philosophical and unreligious point of view.
In this article, I first assume there is a spiritual realm so as to explore the implications; then I present my conclusions elsewhere.
If there is a good and beautiful God, he/she either: (1) created the universe with its conscious creatures who suffer, or (2) created entities having the power to create it all. In either case, God is responsible for the evil and suffering.
Explanations for the existence of evil:
There is no satisfying way to reconcile a good creator God with the existence of evil and suffering. The best you can hope for is to make God be like an irresponsible child who is not aware of the consequences of his/her creative activity.
And so, if you have a weak God like this, who is not all-good or all-powerful, the consequence is: theism is false.
Ultimately, suffering requires conscious creatures capable of feeling pain: physical, emotional, mental, or psychological. So, therefore, the source of evil ultimately consists in the creating of these kinds of creatures in a universe outside of God's direct control. (Christians want to believe God is in control over every tiniest detail, but this makes him/her bad or neglectful.)
Perhaps suffering is a result of a benign super-powerful creator entity who wants to share the utopia of the spiritual realm with created conscious creatures via creating a physical universe. This, without realizing that suffering is inherently built-in to this physical universe — an oops moment. But why would God not educate these super-powerful creator creatures about the side-effects of creating universes having conscious creatures?
Only the word "suffering" is needed for badness because it includes:
So the question is, how can a good God create conscious creatures that suffer?
This universe seems designed to guarantee pain and suffering, with its limited resources and constant need for living organisms to recharge by killing and eating each other.
People who believe in a good creator God must find a way that he/she is not responsible for evil and suffering.
Did God create pain, suffering, and evil? Some views:
The standard Christian view is that evil originates in the heart and mind of evil humans having free will. God created the possibility of free-will creatures but has nothing to do with evil itself.
In their desperate attempt to exonerate God, some Christians say that we need suffering because good comes from it; it makes stronger somehow to cope with and survive suffering. But it is horrific to think we need to be tortured to death for some good purpose. And how can we grow and learn if we are tortured to death? And what about animals who get eaten alive?
None of these "explanations" are satisfying. The reality of evil destroys any possibility of theism.
Views people have about the problem of evil (how can a good God create, or allow, evil?):
Even from a non-theistic point of view, evil is weird.
Even atheists (for example) offer principles for a moral code based on, usually, something like utilitarianism: of doing things that help others and not doing things that hurt others. But this assumes, I think, a universal value that good is better than bad. No one wants a society in which everyone is bad and, in fact, such a society would disintegrate. Therefore, it seems to me that reality has a built in preference for "the good", call it God if you will.
Good and bad are not equal and opposite manifestations of the same thing, a yin-yang, if you will. Bad is a corruption of the good. Good is, well,... good.
When considering "bad" things (evil, pain, suffering, sin, death), the essential item in the list is "suffering". Without resultant suffering (to oneself or others) evil is not bad, because it's not evil until inflicting the suffering. (The thoughts in a mass murderer's mind cause suffering for the mass murderer himself/herself even before he/she decides to commit the dastardly deed.)
Suffering can only occur to a conscious creature who is conscious at the time of the suffering. (Can the unconscious mind suffer? Do non-conscious creatures suffer?)
A rock hit with a hammer doesn't suffer. A corpse doesn't suffer. As we travel backwards down the tree of life from humans toward bacteria, I suppose there is a point at which the creatures no longer suffer because their conscious experience no longer includes the ability to suffer (even though they might experience something, such as "being", and even though they respond to the stimuli of being roughly banged around).
Evil comes from the randomness of quantum mechanics. Some astrophysics think the universe was created by a quantum mechanical fluctuation.
But did God, in creating the universe with its quantum mechanics, therefore create evil?
When we choose to do good, our soul dictates to our body what to do; it controls the quantum mechanical interactions. But when we are just letting things happen, these quantum mechanical interactions occur randomly and all kinds of undesirable things happen.