Philosophy: Today in philosophy class I had a problem and God?

I am going through a crisis with determinism and free-will I will first say that I personally believe in a higher being (God) and in the sense that He is everything good and He is: All-Seeing, All-Knowing, All-Powerful, All-Merciful and etc. However, when going through William James' philosophy on Determinism I became troubled. I wanted to become like Euthyphro and walk away from the conversation, but I knew I would still have a responsibility upon leaving it. In knowing something I can't unknow it. So, I began working through my problem. James stated that if we have two options to decide on which is better in regards to determinism and free-will(libertarianism). The two options are: science(will not work because science only deals with whatever has already happened) and postulate of rationality(whether we accept the postulate that the world is more rational to us if it is governed by neccessity , or the postulate that it is more rational if it contains multiple possibilities). In continuing, with the postulate of rationality you have judgment of regret (a wish that something in the universe may be different than what it is currently). Let's say we look at current statistics at how many people are starving every few seconds and will possibly starve from such cause ending with their death as the result. Or let's say that we buy a dollar drink from McDonalds and later find out that your dollar could've bought food for 3 or 4 people in a third-world country. So, in knowing this we have to make decisions. Our possible response to these things would be to:

1) We regret bad, sad, painful things and wish that they would have never happened and that they will not keep happening and that we do everything possible to make this so. Thus, we feel regret and we in turn believe in free will since we believe we had control over the situation and its outcome. The implication: we understand the massive responsibility.

2)We adhere to the idea that the world is governed by neccessity, we cannot regret, for what happened had to happen. Thus,we don't feel regret and we believe in determinism. We understand that what happened was out of our control and was already determined to happen. The implication: pessimistic determinism and bad things have to happen.

The Challenge of Theodicy:

The vindication of divine goodness and providence in view of the existence of myriad forms and gross amounts of evil and suffering.

I am a deteminist and believe in free-will, but when thinking about the philosophy that James put up I am not sure. I believe that everything is already predestined to happen, but as humans we were given free will to make our own choices. However, my professor was telling us a story on how he had a Holocaust survivor come in and tell her story. After she told her story, a student just told her that God did this act to show us lessons, brotherhood, and the importance of love. The woman responded back that her family were victims in the Holocaust and couldn't believe that any God would do this to anyone in order to show us a lesson at the expense of millions getting murdered and tortured. I thought about this story and I thought about how hundreds/thousands/millions of people die everyday due to poverty/hunger/disease/famine and etc. And as a determinist I would have to admit that these things have to happen because God decreed for it to happen. However, I feel regret and upset at knowing these things are happening and that I could stop it, thus implying I have free will. So, I dont know what to do in this instance. Our professor brought up how many religious people proclaim in a higher being and to preach to the masses about a higher being, but refuse to discuss this issue of a higher-being that is All-Good, All-Knowing, All-Powerful and All-Seeing allowing these devastations to occur in our lives. So, I'm stuck. I am not looking for an answer rooted in dogma or just take a "leap-of-faith". I understand that Bertrand Russel was an atheist, but he said that philosophy allows a person to step away from narrow-mindness and to speculate and not to hold onto dogmatic views. So, I am speculating and trying to work around dogmatic views.

I believe in God and I believe in God being All-Knowing, All-Powerful and etc. However, I hate how it was presented that if God was all of these things then why would he be All-Powerful and not stop the existence of poverty. If he is All-Powerful then why come he doesn't stop the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS in Subsaharan Africa. This is troublesome because in my personal belief I accept that bad things have to happen because they were ordained by God and that he doesn't commit any injustice.

I believe that I can't conceive of God fully from my own human-rationale, but I dont know. I'm in the middle between determinism and free-will. I'm just stuck right now. Where to go from here?

2 Answers

  • Terry
    Lv 7
    7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The trouble is you are being led to believe god is all powerful and knows every think far in to the future,

    He is also suppose to be all loving. So why does he allow all the terrible things that are going on in the world? Your god knows you are tormented, so why does he not explain it all to you. Where is this loving God? You have a choice believe or not to believe, You need to read not just religious books but anti religious books . other wise your views are all one sided. have an open mind , otherwise you will be unhappy all your life, Follow what faith you want or don't have one, Not what other people brainwash you into believing.

  • 7 years ago

    “Suffering is a gift. In it is hidden mercy.”

    ― Rumi

    “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

    --- Rumi

    "I say that next to God there is no nobler thing than suffering. Right suffering is the mother of all virtues, for right suffering so subdues the heart, it cannot rise to pride but perforce is lowly." - Meister Eckhart

    "Harkee, all rational souls! The swiftest steed to bear you to your goal is suffering; none shall ever taste eternal bliss but those who stand with Christ in depths of bitterness. Nothing is more gall-bitter than suffering, nothing so honey-sweet as to have suffered. The most sure foundation for this perfection is humility, for he whose nature here creeps in deepest depths shall soar in spirit to highest height of Deity.' - Meister Eckhart

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