Professor Clay Jones, Is the problem of suffering incompatible with an all Good God?

Professor Clay Jones, Is the problem of suffering incompatible with an all Good God?
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alright it looks like we're live professor Jones thank you for taking the time to come on and have a conversation with me why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself before you get started well thanks for having me on Tom you're welcome to call me clay if you wish but whatever you wish is fine I well growing up my father was an atheist and my mother was an astrologer and together we attended the United Methodist Church now when I say my father probably would have you pushed him he'd say oh well really I was an agnostic but he was a hard drinking gambling womanizing kind of guy and I'm not saying by the way that atheism necessarily leads to that not just want to make sure I'm clear on that because I know how that can go but I'm just saying that that's what he was when I say my mother was an astrologer and when I say she was an astrologer I mean she was into the occult and I think because of my dad's affair she was just running off trying to find something to soothe herself well anyway when I think I was 11 years old my dad became a Christian and his life radically changed and and we all sat there on the Wow there's something real here uh but I think because my dad thought my see my dad thought religion was stupid and my mother thought everything religious was good so I was I think I was interested in truth claims and by the way at that time we were attending the United Methodist Church and you think it's odd for any you know for somebody like my dad and mom to attend the United Methodist Church but the pastor didn't believe a word of it I mean he wasn't he wasn't a Christian either I mean he didn't believe a word of it but like I said when my dad became a Christian we we were all I became a Christian at almost 13 and and I think that all of us became interested in well all of us or I should say all but most of us then became Christians but I think the interesting thing about it is as I became interested in truth claims what's true you know I mean is this religious occult thing true is the Methodist Church true is you know I mean is none of it true I remember my dad had all peiser's book the death of God on our shelves you know and and I walked by it look at that kind of Wow God yeah what does that mean is it growing up so anyway then I got my bachelor's so I went off and B got my bachelor's in philosophy and a master divinity and then I went off and got a doctorate and I've been teaching Christian apologetics since so well I've been teaching it really I started getting into apologetics a lot of 16 and I've been teaching it at Talbot School of Theology which is a part of bio D University since nineteen well since 2004 so anyway there's no there's a little I'm married we don't have any pets though there you have it so your expertise is the problem of suffering or that's your main interest right now problem of evil and suffering sure and yes it's been my main interest for the last 25 years it's been the thing that I'm most known for almost all of my studies that focuses focus has been along those lines for the last 25 years I've certainly had studied some other things like I teach a class entitled the defense of the resurrection but for the most part I study on you know the problem of evil and the problem and why God allows evil and suffering yeah I find both of those topics really fascinating so let me tell you a little bit about my position on the problem of evil and suffering so I think that in all good all-powerful God would have created a world in which there wasn't any involuntary suffering and the fact that there is involuntary suffering means there probably isn't or maybe necessarily isn't an all good all-powerful God so how would you respond to that well I guess we've just gotten into the major question you know it's funny if I could just didn't response if you don't mind I'll quote Sam Harris real quick here because he says he says you know in his letter to a Christian nation he begins now begins he says somewhere in the world a man has abducted a little girl and soon he will rape torture and kill her if an atrocity of this kind is not occurring precisely at this moment it will happen within a few hours or days the most the same statistics also suggest that this girl's parents believe is you believe that no powerful and all loving God is watching over them in their family he says are they right to believe this is it good they believe this he's no but they said something interested in light and that is the entirety of atheism is contained in this response now I suspect you won't agree with him but maybe you do because if he says the entirety of atheism is contained in this response in other words I guess if we could answer that then atheism is false because he's saying that's all the entirety of atheism is contained in this response but but anyway so just to get to your question yeah I mean why does God you know basically why does God allow evil and of course we're going to be able to unpack this for some time and so I'm just gonna give you the very short answer and I understand there's a lots of ins and outs and things that need to be discussed along the lines of the short answer I get it but the short answer is because God wanted to create beings of freewill and I'm probably not I'm probably not surprising you with that response I don't think I'd be surprised if you were surprised anyway that he wanted to create means with freewill and you cannot create means with freewill and not allow them to use the freewill wrongly that's that's as logical as it gets in my mind if you're going to give beings free will you have to allow them to use their free will wrong way and so in a nutshell obviously I think we'll be spending a lot of time unpacking that and what it means and of course there's lots of things that need to be answered in relationship to that but that's the basic my basic beginning answer to the issue so well first off I believe sam Harris's wording there was not precise he should have said that is the sufficient criteria for atheism okay yeah I figured I freaky walk it back frankly I think if he were to really get pushed I think he'd walk it back okay because you say entirety well so we answer the problem of evil is the fault we'll just go home if we can so no I think you're right I think you're absolutely right so we see we started off a green yeah so so my position on the free will defense is that you can have free will without involuntary suffering so you can allow people to have free will and use their free will but other people also have free will to be affected by those choices or not so for example if someone threw a coffee mug at my head they could use their free will to try and hurt me but I could use my free will to say I don't want to be affected by that and just have it passed through me like I was a ghost or something so you can still have free will and suffering just not involuntary sufferings but still possible to have suffering and free will in the same world without it being involuntary right so and that's you know I I don't know whether you know this you probably do but I've written a book entitled why does God allow evil and one of the things that I deal with in that book is that objection is God could give us free will and yet you know we could avoid suffering one fellow says that even gives the example so suppose someone was going to go and kill someone with a gun and they they they pull the trigger and it turns out the gun is rusty and and things like that could happen all the time you mentioned where you would become in material so so basically then you're saying I'm sure I'm trying to impact what you're saying that we would not have bodies anything close to what we have now if all of a sudden we can become immaterial is that what you're saying sort of well I think we should all have total freewill over ourselves like our wills and our bodies and be able to do whatever we want with them so if someone's going to hurt us we should have free wills over ourselves to change our bodies in such a way that we wouldn't be affected and that is something that is logically possible and compatible with the world with free will and without involuntary suffering now I'm aids different from the case of the rusty gun because then God would be intervening in the world and I don't want that to be the case so I'm just saying we can have free will and sovereignty over ourselves and intervene on behalf of ourselves in those cases we are I see what you're saying and I do agree with you there it's a logically possible scenario I do agree that it's logically possible I'm not sure that it's feasible I don't know so all of a sudden we're going to be able to become immaterial how I mean you know it's funny because I'm thinking you know most atheists and I don't know you will leave this and one thing I want to always avoid is putting words in your mouth but most atheist that I know are materialists we're just material stuff and so you think the world should be such that we work we could all of a sudden become immaterial is that right right so my position I am a materialist but if there was an Allgood all-powerful being the kind of world it could have created is such that we could like translocating or ourselves and there is actually a material way to do that also for example have you seen the movie The Matrix with I have so we could get all great the next who were terrible but every yeah right right exactly so we could be in a computer program and if we're in a computer program and each individual has sovereignty over themselves they could make themselves immaterial in the video game or in the computer world just like you could if you were a non-physical being so if we existed in the matrix and someone threw a coffee mug at you you could essentially just have it go through you and not affect you and just turn off the physical contact option in the settings or whatever and it wouldn't hurt you at all so that that is a we are actually technologically getting to the point where we can create this world ourselves so it would be very strange if God couldn't create it so I'm just trying to make sure I understand how this all works so Billy is for instance is one of the analogy that given my book Billy's cutting his steak next to his little brother Bobby and it takes the steak knife and jabs it into Bobby's side Bobby of course goes in material and the whole family laughs right because it's just you know I mean in that funny look at Billy's trying to kill Bobby and he can't and that's that's you that's what I called basically a cartoon world where you can't really hurt each other wily coyote can have an anvil fall on his head and he's going to be okay because he goes in material at the last minute and he can chase the roadrunner but he can't actually grab the roadrunner because the roadrunner becomes immaterial at the moment he actually puts his hands around his neck the roadrunner becomes immaterial and but I what's the difference between that in the cartoon world well a cartoon world isn't like a pudgy it doesn't mean that it isn't possible or is a bad thing but I would think about it like this in this world that I'm describing you could live in a world exactly like the one we're in right now you would just have to choose it so you could live in a world where you don't have the ability to go immaterial you don't have the ability to dodge the knife essentially and you would be subject to other people's immoral inclinations but only people who choose to live in this world of do so the others can just have go to the immaterial settings and be in their world of their settings and not be affected and their world I'm sorry go ahead well that world is a morally superior world to the one we live in because you can you still have everything we have in this world because you can choose to live in a world exactly like this one but you have the benefit of being able to choose not to and so all of the benefits of this world are attainable in the world on describing but there's also more the consequence is what so what somebody has really evil desires and wants to hurt and you hurt somebody else they basically then can't do it no no that's not what I'm saying I'm saying they could do it like you could live in a world exactly like ours with every single rule being exactly the laws of gravity laws of physics everything the same we're just Hitler can gas the Jews all the bad things can happen the only difference is is the only people who live in this world are the ones who choose it you have to voluntarily choose to be a part of this world if you don't you can go to the other world with the ethereal options where you could just turn off pain and suffering and not be affected okay benefits all of the free will everything exists in this world I'm describing but it's optional so we have to do a world's going on you know so I'm just trying to understand this for a minute so but in the world in the world that you would probably choose to live in the world where you really can't hurt each other I'm guessing where people can't hurt each other then back in that world people would have to if somebody really wanted to do harm to somebody else they wouldn't be able to right you'd have to consent to it you'd have to let them harm and said you'd have to consent to them to them cutting off your fingers or killing them right I get it so in that world then what let me ask you a question about that world so suppose somebody slips off the side of a cliff and they fall down can they can can they choose the Canadian cent or decide then to become immaterial yes they can them just fly there just fly and okay well you know one of the problems with that world is you're you don't have any moral your you can't do anything of any significant morality a moral standing because you can't physically hurt somebody you can't stab somebody you can't for you know I mean I guess it would would that also go to like robbing somebody that you could keep them from robbing your stuff right yep okay so in that world there wouldn't be you wouldn't be able to have it grossly immoral action ever well no no remember in this role I know there's this other world where you could choose it I'm talking about in the world where you can't where you working where you have where you have the option of being immaterial in the immaterial world I don't see how there's how you could be responsible for any grossly immoral action ever well again remember this is all the same essential world you just have the option of being in these two different categories so because it's on the same planet then right now just like okay okay that's helping me understand a little bit we're on the same planet but some people can choose to never be hurt by anything and other people can choose why they want to is not clear to me but other people can choose and say yeah okay no I want to be in the world where you can you can cut my fingers off and steal my stuff right right so in that world that is an option it can have moral consequences in the immoral actions and moral actions to helping people all of that is a possibility it just has to be a consensual possibility you have to agree to the possibility before hands or you can say I'd rather not do that and avoid the suffering and have be one of the ethereal people let's suppose just for the sake of discussion that everybody chose to be one of the ethereal people which I suspect people would if that were the case you would have a world where no one could do any moral harm to each other no gross moral harm anyway correct it would be impossible to involuntarily harm other people and that would be a morally superior world to ours so people wouldn't be able to learn the horror of how people can harm each other no they could they would just have to consent to it that's a balk no but I'm just saying in a world where everybody said no I don't want to be heard you don't have the experience nobody's having the experience of learning that my goodness we can really severely hurt each other that's now gone that's off the table and so people can I saw I suppose you think that people can hate your guts and they can want to murder you I think you I'm gonna guess that you would say that they could want to murder you but they won't be able to murder you because you could even though they try although I think they'd give up soon because it realized it was fruitless but that they would want to murder you but they wouldn't be able to murder you and so we could have a whole bunch of people running around going I wish I could cut his head off but I can't cut its head off bummer but but again I I don't I realize I realized that the pejorative aspect of suggesting that it's a cartoon world but it just seems to me like a cartoon world no matter what the road coyote does he can stick dynamite he can blow up something you know that the Acme TNT can go off road runners fine he can an anvil can fall on his head he's fine he can fall from 3,000 feet he's fine I don't and I'm not trying to be pejorative here but I just don't that's just a cartoon world that's a world where your actions don't if everyone chooses that that's a world where your actions don't have moral significance I what so there's no actions now look lack complete moral significance well no I would say you can still do moral actions because moral actions are helping people's for example you can do a moral action in a video game if someone is struggling in a boss or something you can help them and teach them how to beat it that's a moral thing to do or something and then the same thing would apply in this world if you can apply limitations to yourself and not give yourself godlike power to do anything like in a video game so you can experience some suffering but you could be immune to other sufferings so you can experience paper cuts but not gunshots and so you can still great pain and suffering and you can still help people to overcome that so there are still degrees that you can experience morality India morality it's just not to the absolutes there's a limit and that limit is optional and from my position if there wasn't all good all-powerful god this is the only world that could create because if it's if the god forces us to be in a world with involuntary suffering that is by definition immoral and so there can't be an all good guy that could do that we'd have to be much smarter than we are now because we'd be have to see that people were going to harm us in time to turn off or turn on the switch that makes us immaterial right so we'd have to be a lot more we'd have to be pretty pretty intelligent superhuman at least when it comes to embrace because we would have to because what if somebody's coming up behind me and she's been in the back of the head and I don't see it coming and they actually kill me then how does that work well you you would make the settings beforehand so you'd say just anything that could kill me is off so that that's not anything that could kill me it was off but what it but anything that could really hurt me is off – right you can set the limit to say how much pain you're willing to look like I don't yes too many people even want to stub their toes we trying to stub your toe function off I'm getting positive there are definitely people who would not do that for sure yeah I'll be there if there's this thing in video games where people actually made an attachment for video games where it will like shock you if you ever take damage and cause you like seriously pain so there are people who would deliberately choose for the harder settings in this world can you dial can you dial this world down so that you don't experience any pain or frustration at all sure I would say that's like days then why would you need someone to help you in a video game because you'd always do well in the video game because you'd never suffer frustration over the way you were playing the video game or you would deliberately limit yourself like in a video game I can use cheat codes and give myself infinite stats but I don't do that I play from the base stats and level up and work hard to try and learn how to play the game because I enjoy it so in that sense I can help other people who are better at the game still teach me things and help me and give me items that I didn't have before experience the morality of beneficial cooperation with other people even though I have the option of just turning on the cheat codes and doing whatever I want right I it seemed whatever we're talking about in that world we're not talking about human beings as we know them we're talking about God would have had if God were to exist he would have to create it beings that were significantly different than they are now and much smarter than they are now much more intelligent so we're no longer dealing with humans per se I'm not quite sure that's true because we humans have this capability we can technologically almost we're at the point where we can build the matrix and do exactly what I'm saying word for word so I don't think so I don't think I my next book has a long section on artificial intelligence but I won't we won't get off on that and the success of this and whether the singularity is coming in and all but anyway let me interrupt I'm not talking about artificial intelligence here I'm just talking about a computer program just like the matrix you don't need AI for this we just need a big enough storage data center to be able to be a part of it like integrated integrates consciousness or put on a headset or something and if we can do that technologically we can have this world so we're technologically almost at the point where we can do this I'm still okay I'm still going that would be I mean you're singing it could happen I'm just gonna say I've studied this it doesn't mean I'm right I'm not so foolish this thought I've studied it so I'm right I doubt however in my studies I've come to the opposite conclusion nothing like that's coming but that's we could that's not the point of this program and there's this episode so let's we won't go there you know I'm sticking with I don't know how this world exactly worked you becoming a material whenever you want to you see a threat you could die out down you've got this kind of AI it's an inconsistent world the world like I say we're an anvil can fall on your head and it doesn't hurt you it just passes right through you because you become immaterial but let me go to perhaps a more significant point for me than all of this and that that's related it's related but more significant point it is this I argue that God wants us to learn the horror of rebellion against him and so he allows us to live in a real world where we can really hurt each other and really do wrong to each other uh and if you know one of the things that of course atheist Brunt bring up this will bring up like Auschwitz and the Holocaust and stuff like that and that actually can go both ways and what I mean is it's all say to people say the atheists and skeptics and they usually don't like it you're a jovial guy you might be fine but but I'll say you know if there is no God who caused the Holocaust and the who caught you know who is at fault for the Holocaust if there if there never was a gone and the answer to that is right as humans humans did the Holocaust that humans there's something in humans as right now we're talking about putting God aside here there's something in humankind that likes to murder people and so there's something in humankind that likes to rape people and something in human kinda likes to steal their stuff and that's like I say God's out of the picture this is what humankind does humankind is therefore not good innately good because if humankind can do it haha genocide as they've done in large numbers over the centuries humans aren't good and we got we've got a big problem there but what if God wanted now putting God back in the picture what if God wanted humans to learn this information what if God wanted humans to learn you know what uh once you repel against me here's where the world's going to end up in other words the world that you're talking about is a morally thin world there's not much to it the world I'm talking about is a morally thick world you can you have the ability to really harm people you have the ability to in fact you if you desperately wanted to perish the thought you could go out and kill somebody this afternoon I'm sure you can pull it off if you really wanted to perish the thought terrible thought but that's a morally thick world and also you know it occurs to me and you know I mean what about just going back for a minute can people slander II in the immaterial world what do you do about people hurting each other through slander and gossip they can do they can talk whatever they want that's a part of queso people okay I just wanted I just occurred to me but anyway see what if God wanted what God wanted to create a world such that we would learn the horror a rebellion against him what if that's what he wanted to do well the first sentence you said I think was really telling you said God can allow us to be a part of this world now that part I have no problem with the problem is that God didn't allow us to be a part of this world he forced us to be a part of this world we didn't have the option it wasn't allowance kind of a thing well I didn't I don't know exactly what I meant when I use that word and I'm not running from it because it's not that big a deal to me but God the bottom line is is that God put us in a world where we would know the the horror of rebellion against him and and that's what we're learning here is that that human thought that sin rebellion against God is a really really really destructive thing and it leads to Auschwitz it leads to the Khmer Rouge it leads to you know Mao and China and for that matter a lot of stuff that's going on in China still it leads to all these things and this is valuable knowledge for humans that they learn that rebellion against him is really a very stupid thing to do right so my argument is is that if there wasn't all good all-powerful God he would have given us the option so we could choose to be in that world we can do that or we could choose to not and if he's forcing us to do that against our will without our consent that's by definition slavery and by definition immoral so it can't be an all good job that it completely invalid invalidates the possibility I don't see how it's slavery that he allows us to make decisions to Ravel against them and therefore to hurt each other but that works fine that part stuff first totally fine it's that's pretty well right I mean it's not he created you know you allows humankind to have free will humankind uses that freewill to kill each other I don't see how God's enslaving them of humankind's to kill each other like that he's allowing them to kill each other but but you're just saying the very fact that we exist at all no no I'm going a different direction with this I'm saying they the fact God forced us to be in a world like this where there is involuntary suffering and we don't have the option to go with the area we don't have the option to go to a different world that is itself slavery we have been forced to be here into a limited space of living to live under a certain set of conditions we did not choose we did not consent to against our will by someone else for someone else's purposes that is by definition slavery so that itself is immoral so the fact that God forced me to live in this world and did not give me the option to go to this other world I'm describing is itself an immoral action you know I understand that you're saying that and I think I understand why you're saying it of course you won't be surprised by this but I totally disagree with it and I think part of the reason is if Christianity is true if it is true then eternal life awaits and you can live forever and ever and you can choose which world you want to live in for eternity you can choose hell or you can choose heaven and you have the choice on whether you're going to live in hell forever or whether you're going to live in heaven forever and you have the choice between those two and the choice is completely up to you so so do I have a choice of my own University scag no pal I'm not interested you don't get it yeah you know I mean that would be if you think about it that would be kind of a weird a weird universe if everybody got to have their own universe anyway they wanted to have their own universe and then the question comes what happens when I want my universe to hurt your universe I just don't I don't know how cartoons don't keep getting coming back to this where it's not a real world where it's not it's so far removed from from everything that we are now and whoever we are we're just so far removed we've got to have like superhuman intelligence we've got a bodies that can go in material anytime they want we can fly as you said I mean we're not even talking about humans even remotely as we know them now and again everything I'm describing we can do technologically everything I do is that I'm not willing to I don't buy that for a moment but again I know that's the topic for another show but I don't buy that for a man just just forego the the connection between putting our brain in the computer if we just look at video games right now today we can do all of the stuff I'm talking about in video games to video game characters the video game characters can go ethereal with the press of a button the characters can go to their universe at the press of a button the viewing characters can choose to change the settings of the press of the button so we can do everything I'm describing in video games except we just don't have the ability to transfer consciousness yet so what I'm talking about isn't really too far removed yeah the transference of consciousness is never going to curve it'll never ever see that I've spent a lot of time on brain and mind uploading you're never going to be able to transfer your consciousness into something else that's never going to happen and I realize that a lot of atheists in particular see that it's the ultimate salvation was just uploaded into a computer but that's just simply never going to happen our computers are actually frankly too stupid to be able to do that computers as I think was Eagleman or Eagle stone he's a neuroscience professor at Stanford and he happens to be the advisor on Westworld the technical adviser on West releases he says we can't get a computer to do what a three-year-old can do this is and I can send you the quote on this he says we can't a three-year-old a three-year-old can can navigate a complex room load a dishwasher and manipulate his parents we can't get a computer to do that even close in other words I don't you the hope here is computers are gonna save us and I'm just saying that's just not gonna happen but again though I feel like we could argue this point you and I and see let me say something I have to say though and because I realize this is kind of the basis of where you're coming from and that is if I thought that the world was no more than material stuff if I believed that I would agree with you because if the world was no more the material stuff if that was the case well consciousness then came from material stuff and if consciousness could come from material stuff and why can't a computer become conscious although I'm not sure that perhaps only only organic things if eg in that world might be able to become conscious and so far scientists have not been able to make one thing that was organic yet not anything but but anywho like I say whether computers ever do this we're gonna disagree like I say if I was a materialist I would agree okay consciousness therefore must be material and therefore we must be able to upload it I don't think consciousness is material and I think you're the memories of your 16th birthday are not just about neurons that are moving around real fast flat like I say we're kind of moving off into a subject it's not we're talking about why God allows evil here when I write that we're talking about beings you're saying but these beings become but that's the appeal an appeal I think that's an appeal argumentum ad of future um the argument to the future one day this will all be Saul and I just don't I I don't see it but anyway I I'd probably be best I mean it's your show but we probably should leave that alone because that's well the problem the court shows on whether God why God allows evil and not on whether we can when they upload our brains right that's that's my main point there is just to show that it is potentially possible to do this this is not logically impossible but I mean just a quick note on that point people said it was impossible that computers could be able to do mathematics people said it was impossible that we're gonna be able to travel faster than the speed of sound people said it was impossible that we were gonna be able to do fission people said it was impossible II we're gonna be able to do space flight Clark's first law whenever a scientist says something is possible it's probably right whenever he says something's impossible he's probably wrong so whatever something's impossible it's it's probably wrong but this is different in this sense I I understand what you're saying and that and I agree with it to a certain extent the trouble is is how does we transfer consciousness in principle I don't see you can sit there and say see what's how would that occur in principle because it's one thing to say one day science will figure this out but if you sit there and go I can't figure out how you Tom are going to transfer your consciousness into a bunch of circuitry and by the way we're talking about a hundred billion neurons they have totally mapped a C elegans the worm C elegans it has 302 neurons and the guy that mapped it says we have no idea how its brain works not right we don't know how to meet your arms we have no idea right we don't know how consciousness works to be able to do that we're first gonna have to discover how consciousness works I agree that we're going I don't since I don't believe in consciousnesses material it's never going to happen but and I don't see how in principle like I say and you're writing lines with jet with Chalmers as a matter of fact at New York University and he says we don't even know how consciousness works but he's convinced though along with you that one day they're going to discover how it works and they're going to be able to upload it in the computers in the meantime by the way he hopes to be frozen at Alcor so that one day they'll bring him back to life the trouble is is why would anybody want to bring Chalmers back to life he's thought of that he says if I write enough ideas maybe don't want to bring me back to life just to disprove me but will anyway I'm a big fan of David Chalmers I like tomorrow yeah he's he's an interesting guy he's a very interesting guy just think again anyway I just think it but back to Mike just actually argument back to the argument happen is I have to say at least we're having an interesting conversation that I guarantee that but back to the argument hand my point is is that what if God wants us to learn what if God wants us to learn the the horror of rebellion against him and he says you know so I'm gonna put you in a real world where you can knock yourselves out because if you've decided to Ravel I'm gonna put you into a real world where you can really hurt each other and you'll see how you like it in a real world where you can really hurt each other and so that's that's my contention and and I think that's why God put us in a real world where we could really hurt each other so that we could learn the horror of rebellion and one more thing and but the thing is you then have a choice between eternity and eternity and bliss or eternity in hell you then have a choice this is one of them who knows maybe in some sense will be a material in heaven I don't know but you'll not have a body that can be hurt but in hell it's not going to be good but you have the choice right so I see that it's just objectively immoral if I'm forced into this choice of either heaven or hell and don't have a choice of my own universe but I'm a slave to this system that whatever God made and I didn't choose that so that is like by definition slavery why I I'm not surprised that that's a response I hear all the time you know I mean and basically it's very close to the objection if this is the way things are going to be then God shouldn't have created at all you know because if this is the only world he was going to create then he shouldn't have created we shouldn't even exist in the first place because this was really terrible well I wouldn't go that far I would just say he could make a better world which is logically possible for him to make a better world just create us outside of the system and say would you like to be a part of the system or would you like to go for be a part of your own system what he's created well yeah the trouble is if in people in the beings on the system they really want to hurt other beings and he's not interested I'm he's just simply not interested in allowing beings that want to hurt other Dean's he wants to just he's going to segregate them he's going to move him off into a world of their own making you know it's interesting because Sartre wrote a play entitled no exit and in his play no exit three characters spend art in hell it's a play but they're actually in a very very hot hotel room if you read Sanford's play and and they're just ripping each other emotionally I don't think physically they're ripping each other emotionally at the end of the play the door opens where they can actually leave he'll basically and none of them chooses to because I think that hell is a place that's been made for people who – there's a very real sense are going to prefer that over being in heaven because in heaven you're going to have to do his will in hell you can do your own will but it's not going to be pretty I'm not sure I'm following your point here so from my position every beam is created and they can choose to go to God's system where they can choose to go to a universe of their own so that would include the people who want to kill people if they want to do that they can go to their universe where they can kill as many people as they want but other people would have to choose to go into that universe for them to kill otherwise there wouldn't be anyone there so the universe is right I mean they'd have to have the universe for your people and then maybe the universe where you can only take you can't kill people begging steal or stuff I put it this way I'd say every person gets to decide for themselves the universe they want to be a part of and you can join someone else's universe if you want you can make a collective universe you could do you want a god universe so dig into this but see you use the word all-powerful I think that's I think that's spot-on I think we're talking the same language now in other words you want a universe where everybody can be their own God pretty much will sort of there's a limitation years that they can't they can't impose and voluntary restrictions on anybody else so in that you they can be their own GABA they can't interfere with other people's being their own God right exactly that well the ideal exactly my opinion the hub of what's going on in the entire universe is that you've got people a huge huge huge huge amount of people who want to be their own God I absolutely positively and the creator of the universe is I'm not going to allow people to be their own God there's me now you can you can obey me and I'm going to give you eternal bliss forever and I I realize as an atheist you probably see his commands as owners I personally obviously do not and so I sit there and say so all I have to do is honor God and obey God and do what's pleasing to him and he's going to allow me to do what I want to do and be free and yeah I can't rape and murder and pillage and and their you know look at porn but I can do pretty much anything that I want and so anyway I just that that's the hub of this whole thing is your design you want everybody to be able to design a world where they're their own gods but they cannot interfere with other people's desire to be there or way that they want to be their own gods uh I'm not sure that there wouldn't be every there wouldn't just be well there's seven billion people alive today I'm not sure that wouldn't mean there would be 7 billion universes because you can't intersecting with each other would always create problems well no you can voluntarily choose to be a 42 courses or you know or do people you just have 7 billion universes right so might in this world I'm describing you could you could follow God and be a part of God's world and worship God and do all of follow God's commands the only difference is that the people who don't want to do that have an option be they can say I don't want to do that and that seems to be a morally superior world to this one a clearly morally superior world well of course are from my purse from where I'm coming from from the Christian perspective we don't even remotely this isn't a surprise but we don't even remotely think that's a morally superior world like I say it's a club first of all it's a cartoon world and secondly the more you're morally superior world is where our actions really mean something for instance what I mean is you can't show love and compassion and selflessness I mean real well let's leave love alone for a minute because that has a lot of definitions including sexual love but when it comes to courage and selflessness and compassion those three attributes can only really occur in a world where people can be injured if people cannot be injured you can't have selflessness or courage or and that kind of thing you can't have that kind of thing because there's nothing to be selfless or courageous towards boy remember you can choose to be a part of that world the only difference here because everybody you know yeah okay yeah well it kind of invalidates your entire body but you could be in that world that has courage and compassion and selflessness if you want to but if you don't want to but see the world that you want to live in forget the world that could exist the world you want to live in is the world where there's no courage or selflessness or compassion because there's never anything to be courageous or selfless or passion or compassionate about well no I would still have all of those things I'm still allow it unless somebody can be really injured or can really suffer there's no reason to be selfless or compassionate ever because I can still have that remember you can have it all design your own world which means I would have you keep saying yeah but you could have that in this world you want to live in apologizing just to correct you again in video games there's difficulty settings right you have an easy a hard and a very hard an insane difficulty setting you can think of this world is like the the hardest possible difficulty or probably not even the hardest difficulty so there's definitely harder settings we could be at this world is at some difficulty studying I'm still going to have some pain and suffering and hardship just like in the video game is just going to be slightly less than this world but your other people though and if everybody else in the world in your world if everyone else in your world chose not to have pain or suffering then they would never they would never be in pain or suffering and since they would never are they would never lack food they would never lack anything in your world so there would never be any reason for you to show courage or compassion or selflessness towards them because they would never be in a place of being in that position right and that's a morally superior world to this one because they have that choice now I'm I'm gonna use call it morally superior but it's a world your world the one you want to live in doesn't have suffering it doesn't have pain it doesn't have compassion or courage or selflessness because those things cannot occur in your world no again those would definitely occur those would necessarily or does it occur unless people are willing to be injured in your world because people are willing to be injured that's part of I mean you're in material world you saying people are still gonna want to be injured even in the new material world when they get yes why would anybody for instance why would anybody want to have their their arm cut off by a saw I know a guy that ran his hand through a table saw why would anybody ever choose that people have chosen that all over the world people choose to experience suffering deliberately there yeah I know about I know about sadomasochism but I don't think that's the same thing is running your hand intentionally into a table saw well Hospital Buddhists set themselves on fire as an active threat yeah I know Buddhists set themselves on fire or is the protest to try to accomplish greater good for the Buddhist community it's not simply because the in other words they're doing it for a purpose right there's a less than unless the Buddhist community wasn't suffering they wouldn't set themselves on fire because there'd be no purpose to setting themselves on fire unless the Buddhist community was already suffering again in video games there are difficulty settings you can choose to play on the harder difficulty setting which causes you pain and stress and suffering and you you choose but let's go with that difficulty setting because I'm just curious in almost you know I this is going to be shocking q maybe but I've actually played some video games and life knocking but you know one of the things about that though is anybody that anybody in the video games that we know that stays at the beginner level you call them well beginners and worse I mean in other words unless people are opting for where you can get really injured in the world you're talking about they're in the baby level they're in the little baby level beginner level and you know we have all these pawns for them so so basically it seems to me if you're going to use the video game analogy that really people the really that people should want to live in a world where they can come to self harm because that's just how what that's just what is expected of people who are going to be really good at something well let's just do a latest viewpoint if you're really good at your games but morally sweeter gameplay you don't run into people doing a lose oh you mean you're still playing at level one though I do that the baby level of course but the morally superior way is to give people the option to choose at the level they enjoy that isn't morally superior all right well again see I don't know how long we want to beat this horse because I'm sitting I'm saying in in my from where I'm coming from memorial morally superior world is the world where you can learn to or where you can show compassion and courage and selflessness and you can learn the horror of rebellion against God I think that's the morally superior world I realized you don't think that I mean obviously that's why we're talking but now we're just you know it's just kind of an assertion you're asserting I think it's morally superior and I'm asserting that it's not a morally superior I just say to that that if Christianity is true it really doesn't matter anyways what you think is the morally superior world because the world you're living in and notice I I'm careful enough I've been doing this long enough so if Christianity is true if it's true then you're living in this world and in this world the Lord expects you to do morally good actions and to learn the consequences the rebellion against them right well if I'm correct in my description of the world is morally superior than that means the Christian God is necessarily false because there isn't by definition and being since this world is by definition immoral that's making so of course and here we you know circling back again I just don't think a cartoon like world is morally superior and I think it's interesting because you keep saying yeah but you could up the level which I don't know why anybody wants out the level unless they have this elitist attitude where they want to be better than the poor people or the little the little baby people that have left it at level one and they want to be morally superior I don't know why they want to leave level rather than that other than moral superiority but I mean I think you should be up to H individual I think that's what the key to moralize freedom of choice where everybody can be their own god I get it I'll by the way I think that from a Christians perspective I think that's exactly I absolutely positively the kernel of sin is I want the world to be my way and I'm going to shape the world in any possible way that I can to be my way and a God who doesn't allow me to shape the world in the way that I wanted is an immoral God well obviously I would to say I don't agree with that is an understatement times about three trillion or is Haley on Modern Family would say it's four hundred and twenty percent off but anyway so yeah I'm still lost here because that seems like you just described slavery verbatim and said so god forced me to be in this way without my consent without my say-so to be in his world you have a choice this is this is like boot camp and you have a choice on which way you're going to live your eternity you have a choice very real choice one of them you can call it slavery if you want to but one of them if you choose to go to hell that's your choice you have the choice to do that because and everybody who chooses to obey God and honor him is not going there and everybody who says you know what I don't care or see I think that again I think this is the kernel of sinfulness and the kernel of rebellion I reminded of Ernest Susa no no no I'm sorry all of a sudden Henley I can't remember that if the guy who wrote Invictus all of a sudden his name escapes me but he says it matters not how Strait the gate nor charge has punished it's the scroll I'm the captain of my fate and I'm the master of my soul I'm sorry Nelson Mandela no no no no no no no no no no I Invictus is the name of the poem I'm sorry I don't remember right now but but anyway but see that's to me what we're talking about now is just really the kernel of whole rebellion against God in other words we've got people saying I won't worship a God that doesn't create or I'll just say doesn't exist okay I won't I'll either say that God doesn't exist or I'm gonna worship of God who won't let me do what I want so so my position is is that I'm going to choose to go to my own universe I'm not going to choose hell or heaven oh but wait I can't so I don't have a choice oh you can't you're not given that would so that's not a choice I don't have a choice well no you're given a choice but you want door number three and there's only two doors I think you're next what is going on a game show and there's only two doors you have a choice between the two doors so you think they're good no no no mr. game show host I want door number three well you still have a choice between doors not one and two so how is that different from saying the the Nazi says to the Jew I'm gonna kill both your kids or you get to pick one make a choice you get the choice you get to allow the choice oh this is clearly not immoral anymore it's your choice well you're making a choice in that's the Sophie's Choice of course movie you're making a choice over another human beings destiny and I write I would find that very troubling making a choice over another human beings destiny so I don't think that analogy is tight enough because it's not about making a choice over another human beings destined we're talking about your destiny and that you have a choice between doors one and two and and you're going to God's amoral if he doesn't give me door three all right let me change the analogy so Nazi says to Jew gas chamber or fire which one would you prefer make a choice oh yeah I mean again yeah I mean but that's not that doesn't that that doesn't relate to the Christian choice because it's it's I'll go with fire or guess what you can live in comfort further forever and ever that's the choice not between dying miserably in one way and dying miserably in another way well the because it's the choices you have to serve God or you have to go to hell right and so from the perspective of someone who isn't a Christian it's like the fire of the gas chamber no I well I understand oh I actually on that particular point I agree with you you see because I don't think see the trouble is and philosopher Dallas Willard put this well he says it's not that anybody wishes to go to hell or in the abstract it's just that people don't wish to be the kind of being that would want to be with God and I think that's the case is that I think we're you're all right on that and that is you don't want to be with God and that's why I think I think that I think that's why Sartre is playing no exit is is right on the money they didn't want to be there but they didn't but even more than not wanting to be there they didn't want to be out that outside there because they knew what outside there might be and so and I think that's the case so we have it we say that the gates of Hell are locked from the inside CS Lewis said that the gates of Hell are locked from the inside but it's obviously false to me because we only have the option of the oven and the frying pan like well yeah yes sorry we'd have to have the third option if you have our universe and stay then you'd be right but we don't have been forced into this I understand why you're saying that but saying that eternal life in heaven where you're going to be reunited with other brothers is but other Christians that eternal life in heaven is equivalent to the frying pan I mean you know you can make that say that if you want to and I know but see I guess parsley though I'm agreeing with you in this sense and only in a sense I'm agreeing with you in this sense and only in this sense that that you're not that if you don't want to worship God that it would be hellish to be with him if you are one of those who's decided I want it my way you know I mean in thinking of Burger King have it your way I want it my way and if I'm not going to get in my way I don't want to be in a world in a kingdom where I have to do here well that would be just as hellish as just simply going to hell you see what I mean see what I'm saying absolutely I totally agree with you on that bow so at least we're thinking the same thing and all I can say right not a moron of your own well I mean it wouldn't be as brilliant be morally superior to give us that see that's where I have to say and I say but that's a that's a sign of your own fallenness that you just simply can't understand that the God's ways actually you're better and I realize you're going well yeah if your question I understand it I understand I'm just saying as a Christian if you're wanting me to tell you what I think's going on as a Christian that's the answer and I but the thing is as a Christian we live in this world here this is the world we actually live in and it does have moral you know we're all going to die sooner or later and it does have significant significant moral actions are involved in this world and you can learn the horror of rebellion against God and I think the Holocaust and all these other genocides are teaching us the horror of rebellion against God because look at how bad humankind can be and again even if there is if there is no good God put them out of the picture it doesn't change this fact look it genocide shows us how bad humankind is without God so I'm still I'm still not following your argument here so if we're just going with the afterlife say we have this world and then we die and we have the option between heaven and hell how is it not morally secured to give us a third option to go to our own universe where is because we well is because that would mean that there's an area of the car I don't call it the cosmos called but universe call it all that exists that simply decided to rebel against God the rebel against his ways and what's the message what's the message then to free beans the message to free beans is you can just you can come your nose at God you can you can hate his guts you can you can you know spit in his face probably wouldn't work very well but you can try to spit in his face and he's going to be fine with that he's gonna give you a little world over here or actually though by what you said he's going to give you countless universes over here or you can do whatever you want and everyone can be a god and they can be in charge of their own universe well right how is that not is that what Jesus said the other cheek right you want if if you're going to say if you're going to pause it well you see we're kind of going around in circles here if you're going to pause it that honoring God in heaven is hell as well as the hellish existence which I do agree that that's what I think that's what's driving much of atheism they don't want to serve God and I'm going to now I'm going to insult your a lot of your listeners I don't think most of the arguments in fact all of the arguments of from atheism are intellectually honest they're about I don't want to see the truth because the truth would lead me to believe that there really is a God and so I reject it now I understand by the way I understand time you reject that completely I get it but I'm just telling you here's the other point of view and you asked me how could that be a moral universe and I'm just saying you can't have a universe if if let's put it this way if there is a Supreme Being if there is an all good if there is an old good and all-powerful being you're saying that this all good and old powerful beings should allow people to hate his guts and I just simply you say that's more moral I don't think that's moral at all well I go with Jesus here when he says turn the other cheek when you when you someone who slapped you you turn the other cheek and let the you slap them again that seems like a more moral outcome when we look at the Janus –tz– who are strict non violent and someone hits them they don't hit them back and they just let them be angry at them that seems to be morally superior to the one who strikes someone back so yes I would say that it is clearly more moral if there was an all good all-powerful being to die didn't hate them of course there's a giant difference between living an unambiguous and open rebellion against the good creator of the universe and slapping somebody in the face and an insult there's a for instance Jesus didn't Jesus did say if anyone slaps you on the right cheek turn to him the other also he didn't say in order you or be the overwhelming majority of Christians believe that if anybody let it rape your wife let him have your daughter also he could have said that he didn't say that that would have court you know I mean that would have changed been a game-changer he said that that there's a level of sin and rebellion where he's just simply not going to put up with it all right like you said earlier when you're deciding the fate of other people that's not sure but when you're deciding your own fate it seems perfectly reasonable well it's about what you know again if you're gonna sit there and say everybody everybody ought to be their own God and well if Chris gains true there's if Christians true there is only one own if it and all good being if it's true and you're saying yeah but this omnipotent all good being should allow other people to hate his guts you say you can say that's you think that's a more moral universe I think that's an immoral universe and I don't know you know I mean but I on the to go with a little farther Christianity of course from where I'm coming from Christianity actually is true and so it's kind of a here you go a kind of a big get over it because this is the world we live in we don't live in a world where we can go in material I'm suspicious of brain uploading but that's another conversation but anyway so I don't I don't think we're gonna get any farther than that well so let's grant where you said that heaven is good and it's all not not the frying pan so we have this the options when we die we go to the good place so we can go to hell how is it's not a morally superior to give them a third option like I don't see how that isn't can you just said it one of the reasons is because it sends a message to me to beans in a incredibly an appropriate message to beans hey you can you can repel against the most intelligent the supremely intelligent supremely good supremely powerful being and he's just going to be like a doting old senile grandfather and go that's fine as long as everybody has a good time I don't think that's a morally superior universe I understand that you do I make a morally superior universe it's just exactly the way the Bible reveals it when it comes to you have a choice between heaven and hell and there is no door number three so from my perspective you're saying that a world with all of the suffering like Sam Harris mentioned at the beginning of his book and like the the Holocaust and the Soviet Union and Mao and Pol Pot and all those guys a world with all of those where people can be involuntarily gassed and killed without their consent is a morally superior world to one where they can choose to go to the world without that it's a morally superior world because a couple of reasons the first the first reason is is because to get to get away from a world where people can really hurt each other is taking away their free will and without free world will you don't have any kind of moral world at all but wait a minute they still have free will because they could freely choose to live in that world if they wanted to yeah okay well okay we're going back to yeah but he should have created a world where you don't get it have to live there if you don't want to it's not clear to me I like I say this is just I'm afraid we were circling around now I think this is that's a cartoon world that's I don't that's not happening computers aren't going to upload your brain scientists don't know what consciousness is in the real world this is the way it is and for those of us who are Christians we say I makes total sense to me that the creator of the universe isn't going to create a world where people can eternally rebel against them and what just to clarify even if it is a cartoon world that still disproves the freewill defense because it proves we can't have freewill with the world of suffering you just have to choose it yeah I I am afraid like I say it's a cartoon in the world that where your moral and another thing is your actions moral actions don't mean anything because you can't hurt anybody but see that's I realize because I know where you're going now yeah but they can hurt others if they want to go into that world see this is like a chameleon where all these things are just all these different possible worlds are going on and most of the people I think are gonna live in a cartoon world and where there's no moral action because you can never show compassion or courage or selflessness because nobody ever is going to be in a place and where those things are needed but that's morally superior I don't I don't think Tong that you and I are going to come to an agreement about this but then again I think we we already thought that coming into the conversation but they still have free will in that cartoon world they still have free will yeah sure you can make them you can say that yeah you know wild leek I all though you know it's funny wily coyote didn't have free will because he was a character drawn by animators but but anyway I I anyway I think we've got we've I think we've gone for our hour here Tom and it's been an interesting conversation I think you could have some people on to talk about my brain uploading it would be interesting but that's although I've studied it I certainly have because my next book is gonna have stuff on that and by the way since we're here if you want to read more about what I think get my book why does God allow evil compelling answers for life's toughest questions they're a quick play awesome well thanks for coming on I really appreciate you taking the time it was a very interesting conversation I didn't write I'm glad to tell you something Tom you're likable thank you guys and it is it's a fun an interesting conversation you're likable of course I want you to reconsider everything but then again we already knew that and I'm sure you're thinking the same about me well listen you thank you for having me on and you have a very good day you too alright you bye-bye

I scratch my head every time I hear Cristians say horse shit like “We have the free will to choose to go to hell or go to heaven” when they think that not believing such a claim equals choosing to go to hell.

*Tom* – isn't the choice of what world one wants to live in also a type of slavery – given that people never experience an absence of desire?
I mean, why would I choose any world if I didn't have the capacity to desire to live in those worlds? And if I do have the desire to live in a particular world – am I not a slave to that desire that God as imposed upon me without my choice?
—-> Having desires imposed upon you must be slavery, and there must be no possibility, other than randomness, for me to select a [base set] of desires because you must desire the [base set] of desires in order to select those desires in the first place. I mean a rock, given a choice to desire a wet stream or a dry river bed has no innate desire for either and so wouldn't have a reason to make such a selection.

Does Clay think that any being can harm God against God's will? Why is it so important for an impervious deity to teach other sentient beings the pain of not-being-impervious?

So easy for some milk toast white guy with a cushy life can say we need suffering . I wonder if those in sub Saharan Africa or other extreme locations, that struggle to just survive, wont prefer less suffering? This guys a moron who faces basically zero struggles on a daily basis.

The brilliant all powerful god couldn’t have create the earth without harmful viruses? Or cancer? Or tsunamis? He had to have all these for us to learn? Absurd! Just dogmatic rationalizations.

If you read this Tom I am curious if you are familiar with a Key & Peele routine of Obama's anger translator? Would love to be your alter ego screaming at the dismissive rude way this condescending arrogant weaselly interruptING NO GOOD YELLER BELLIED……sorry. Got carried away

22:15 One of my biggest road-blocks to ever having faith in an interactive deity is that if God is perfect then His lessons must be perfect and his performance as a teacher must be perfect. But so many Christians are willing to frame God as an utterly inept teacher.

"God wants us to learn the horror"

This is just the figure of a psychopathic teacher. Human teachers are not allowed to viscerally instruct with horror. Human teachers must care for the wellbeing of their students, but a divine teacher, a perfect omniscient teacher – somehow "wants" to teach a lesson in a horrific, painful way – and one in which the majority of students don't even know they're in a class.

A world in which people experienced pain commensurate with the immorality of their actions would likely also be far more moral too, in effect, as the bulk of the pain most would ever endure would be voluntarily originated, even if not specifically chosen.

The highest moral authority would not violate the right of any self determining entity to do evil. That would make that entity a puppet a robot or a slave ! God must allow evil because although he has the power to stop it he will not violate our right to do it.

Just think how much money he could have saved on nonsense books if he would have invested in just one good book on critical thinking.

Hey Tom – I like the approach you take in your debates.

Why is it that Christians fail to expand their imagination of God's power? God can literally do anything and many say he has the power to do the logically impossible. Clay is bickering over the details of the world you describe rather than admitting that God has the power to make it coherent with all the properties sufficient to provide people a free choice for His salvation. It is obvious that the world you describe is more moral than the actual world given the choice of degree of suffering. God not to select TJump's World would contradict his own nature of being ALL GOOD.

I could even argue that God could modulate the degree of Free Will that he gave humans so as to allow moral choices and consequences that limit suffering to a degree, but are sufficient for salvation. Any world with a single moment less of suffering than our actual world would be more moral. Are we to believe that this is the greatest possible or maximally moral of worlds?

Therefore, we have no good reason to assume God created the world – for all we know, the world arose from natural processes like everything else we've ever seen or known about.

Does he believe circumcision causes suffering? Is cancer a good thing because without cancer we wouldn't have people coming up with cures for cancer?

Either you can blow your brains out or I'll do it for you and it's okay because I'm giving you a choice… just because you give somebody Choice doesn't mean that's a good thing. the old mafia boss God.

You better do what God says because if you don't he might have to fuck you up. So do what he says and he can be your best friend it's your choice…

Who's more deplorable? A God who wipes out the entire planet every man woman child and elderly mentally handicapped in a flood except for one family or that family accepting this said God's offer? If a being claiming to be God came to you and said that he was going to wipe out all life except for you and your family would you take that offer or would you tell that assumed God to go f*** himself for even thinking that you or your family would condone such a mass genocide?

Well, Clay's critique was not very substantive.

I watched his lecture on the problem of evil beforehand and I was equally unimpressed, he basically appeals to a failure of imagination and his objection consists in saying "but hey, that would be a different world", and this one we live in is a "BIG GET OVER IT" and "it just makes sense to Christians".

Well, how about this "big get over it", Clay – sometimes as a philosopher you have to delve a little bit deeper than "but that would be different" and "it just makes sense". Try to actually entertain a position for a while before rejecting it

Tom: Checkmate
Clay: Lalalalala
Tom: Che
Clay: Lalalalala
Tom: Ch
Clay: Lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala

Why didn't God put all his beloved children in heaven directly? Why the Boogie Street (speaking with Leonard Cohen) at all? It makes no sense unless God is a very non-sympathetic god.

Heres another thought Tom . Surely an all powerful God would create people fit for purpose. No test required. It looks like he created us as play things.

He complains about the genocide of Hitler and the like, but this pales into insignificance with the suffering and genocide caused by the mosquito. God could have left that out and it would be a better world.

Again, you speak so clearly and effortlessly.

14:49 Haha, Clay sees the attraction of this.

Say this is exactly how creation functioned to begin with – God would then only be the malicious sys-admin that revokes everyone's access to the immaterial choices within free will. That seems pretty evil.

About 30 minutes in and Professor Jones is off on a huge, irrelevant tangent. What computers will or will not be able to do at some point is not the argument. The argument is about an omnipotent God!

Furthermore, the notion that the world describe where suffering is optional is totally different to our present one is kinda the point, and describing it as a 'cartoon' because of that is not really a criticism. Why shouldn't this actual world be the cartoon, and the other one the reality?

I stopped listening when Jones said computers will never achieve consciousness. Perhaps he's right, but he's wrong in using the definitive word of 'never' and is a logical fallacy (black swan). Today the simplest of computers can often perform functions quicker and more accurately than any human is capable of.
The full mapping of a human brain may be many years in the future, but we have demonstrated the ability to map small portions of brain matter (one cubic mm of a mouse), so there is a good possibility we will eventually map ours fully and as such, have a very good reference model for what consciousness is. I suspect Jones objects to this possibility because it is a further examination of just how entrenched our existence is in the physical world and as such, not special, not connected to super natural beings and are here by the vagaries of Mother Nature alone.

You need to combine the free will defense with the fall. That's the proper resolution to the question from a judaic perspective

Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t understand why Professor Jones can’t wrap his head around the world model Tom is describing. Around the 14 min mark, he struggles with the idea that someone couldn’t exercise immoral behavior…. but in this world (according to the Bible) immoral behavior can be committed simply by thinking them.

Again… amazing discussion Tom.

Very unfortunate that Professor Jones fell into tropes and empty sound bites rather offering meaningful conceptual criticisms. His psychological resistance to trigger words in the argument took center stage rather than concrete analytical issues.

The part about the Buddhists is really interesting. Jones said they have a purpose for setting themselves on fire. To me that seems like the whole point. People would choose to suffer because it would be understood that it provides purpose which would be a purpose in itself. Or at least some would perceive things that way.

I'll say this. I quit most RPGs before I finish them. I do that because the way RPGs work with escalating leveling it comes to a point where the character just becomes an invincible god. I've restarted Skyrim probably about 20 times just so I can enjoy the early quests, and leveling. I've completed every side quest, but I just can't bring myself to finishing it.

I really believe that if I were given the option I would choose a world much similar to ours to live in. And it doesn't have anything to do with feeling superior. It's a more nebulous feeling. Like there's no journey without struggle. My intuition is that most people would choose the same eventually. We would already be eternal so with that amount of time choosing to exist in the harsher world would be a necessary outcome of infinite decisions.

For a professor who says he has studied the problem of evil for 25 years, I was a bit disappointed in his arguments and constant refrain of "it's a cartoon world". It seems the conversation was mostly lost on him once he realized he was holding an empty sack and you couldn't rape or kill someone without their consent. IT'S A CARTOON WORLD!

damn, the interviewee is definitely long winded and stubborn. Very fixed in his views. I don't get the whole, "Be my Own god" thing. I've heard it over and over to no avail. Why keep saying it? We ARE our own gods. It's not scary: to have what people describe colloquially as "free will" then what's the problem with calling ourselves our own, as we can chose what we want to do…we know our thoughts, we know what we want to do, "we see us when we're sleeping," we know our little secrets, what we've done wrong, we know our lies, etc, etc.
Projecting these things on to another anthropomorphic disembodied mind… we are only complicating the matter, right?

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