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As many of you know, I've been having a crisis of faith over the past few years.  I have found myself drawn to deism because I want to believe in a good God, and the only way I can reconcile the goodness of God with the evil in the world is that he values free will with such importance, that he sees it as a worse evil to overstep one's free will than to prevent them from using it for evil - even if someone else gets hurt or killed in the process. 

So, it dawned on me today, that it is not morally acceptable for us to allow evil to take place, just to preserve someone's free will.  We are to step in and prevent it at all costs.  How would a Christian respond to that?  My first thought would be that God knows the good that can be brought from evil and we don't, so we must try to stop evil that he might not.  But if we can't assume what might come from the evil, we also can't assume God isn't allowing it for a better good to come about.  So how can it be that it is immoral for us not to try to prevent evil, but it is not immoral for God to do nothing?  How does this situation not make us at least potentially morally superior to whatever god may actually exist?
Huh?

Sorry, Melkite, but you've got my head spinning with all the "can't's", "isn't's", "not's", etc. Shocked  Any way you can re-word it a little more simply for my pathetic little brain cell??  Please....!
Basically, how can it be morally mandatory for us to try to prevent evil, while it is morally acceptable for God not to prevent it, in a way that allows God to remain all-good, or retain moral superiority over even the most moral humans.
(11-19-2016, 01:50 PM)Melkite Wrote: [ -> ]As many of you know, I've been having a crisis of faith over the past few years.  I have found myself drawn to deism because I want to believe in a good God, and the only way I can reconcile the goodness of God with the evil in the world is that he values free will with such importance, that he sees it as a worse evil to overstep one's free will than to prevent them from using it for evil - even if someone else gets hurt or killed in the process. 

So, it dawned on me today, that it is not morally acceptable for us to allow evil to take place, just to preserve someone's free will.  We are to step in and prevent it at all costs.  How would a Christian respond to that?  My first thought would be that God knows the good that can be brought from evil and we don't, so we must try to stop evil that he might not.  But if we can't assume what might come from the evil, we also can't assume God isn't allowing it for a better good to come about.  So how can it be that it is immoral for us not to try to prevent evil, but it is not immoral for God to do nothing?  How does this situation not make us at least potentially morally superior to whatever god may actually exist?

God is God, so we can't be superior to Him in any way, by definition. We are the ones being tested, not Him. We're the ones stuck in space-time; He isn't.

It's not true that we are to "step in and prevent [evil] at all costs." Catholic social teaching is that it's often prudent to tolerate evil so that greater evils aren't brought about. A classic re. this is St. Augustine's belief that prostitution should be tolerated because fighting it brings about more evil than the prostitution itself brings about. I think the same thing about the war on drugs, for ex.  That conversion can't be forced is another example; the forcing of such renders it totally meaningless.

Without free will, there can be no love, plain and simple. Love is an act of the will, so if free will doesn't exist, then love can't exist. If He'd wanted automatons, He'd have made us as such. But He didn't. We have choices, and some choose wrongly, hence the existence of evil. We are to become like Him by choosing correctly.

Just humanize it: A man can want a woman who "loves" him so much that he finds a scientist who can reprogram her mind so that she does everything he wants when he wants it. Or he could keep her chained up in the basement, only letting her out so she can cook for him and have sex and say pleasant things to him, after which, back to the basement. Neither of those situations would involve actual Love, and neither would be pleasing to anyone sane. Why would God want that either? And He obviously doesn't, because He made us able to choose. The wife who chooses to stay faithful is the one that's truly pleasing. The one who has no opportunity to choose to not be faithful really can't be, and chaining a wife in the basement, or programming her mind so that she's an automaton, shows no love toward her. So we are free to choose, as God made us. And some choose wrongly. Hence, evil.
Thanks for posting that, Vox.  I needed a reminder of that today.
God is goodness. If we as humans choose to do good and prevent evil, we do so only through God's grace with our cooperation. Without God we are unable to do anything good and it is when we turn from Him that evil takes His place.
You are creating a false dichotomy between God and God's goodness because God is goodness.

Sometimes God allows evil because it is better to allow smaller evils in order to prevent the greater evil. God never allows evil to occur without bringing something even better from it. The perfect example is that of the sin of Adam, without which Christ would have never become man and we would never have the opportunity to be with God in quite the same way as we can now.
(11-19-2016, 08:39 PM)Dominicus Wrote: [ -> ]The perfect example is that of the sin of Adam, without which Christ would have never become man and we would never have the opportunity to be with God in quite the same way as we can now.

The Franciscan thesis is that Christ would have become man, regardless of the Fall.  The Fall, however, resulted in a different outcome.

Blessed Duns Scotus explains this.  Excellent book, which I recommend to anyone:  The Absolute Primacy of Christ.

Get the book.  It's short.  You will enjoy it.

http://absoluteprimacyofchrist.org/scotus-writings/
(11-19-2016, 01:50 PM)Melkite Wrote: [ -> ]As many of you know, I've been having a crisis of faith over the past few years.  I have found myself drawn to deism because I want to believe in a good God, and the only way I can reconcile the goodness of God with the evil in the world is that he values free will with such importance, that he sees it as a worse evil to overstep one's free will than to prevent them from using it for evil - even if someone else gets hurt or killed in the process. 

So, it dawned on me today, that it is not morally acceptable for us to allow evil to take place, just to preserve someone's free will.  We are to step in and prevent it at all costs.  How would a Christian respond to that?  My first thought would be that God knows the good that can be brought from evil and we don't, so we must try to stop evil that he might not.  But if we can't assume what might come from the evil, we also can't assume God isn't allowing it for a better good to come about.  So how can it be that it is immoral for us not to try to prevent evil, but it is not immoral for God to do nothing?  How does this situation not make us at least potentially morally superior to whatever god may actually exist?

I'm going to second what Vox said, but also add my own two cents. God KNOWS with beyond 100% certainty that if He willed the removal of all evil He would succeed without question. We however do not possess such knowledge so we can only have faith that what we do will keep evil at bay (and without creating a greater evil). It is faith that God is putting to the test. All sickness, starvation, murder, and aging leads to death. God however knows death is not the end and in fact a liberator from our current deplorable state. If we don't die we cannot be reborn to live with Him in eternity. The process is saddening no doubt, but you can choose to see death as the end of this life or the start of something new (requires faith). To loose a loved one hurts like heck, but from their perspective living with God is going to be a lot better than living with us. It would be selfish to make that difficult for them.

That being said, I am NOT saying go around wacking people like a hit man thinking it is an act of benevolence because you don't really know what God has planned for them and to assume other wise would be a terrible sin. You may off someone that God had planned for greatness. We should do our best to prevent any and all evil out of reverence to God's plan, but not become obsessed to the point of literalness.
Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence by Father Jean Baptiste Saint-Jure and St Claude de la Columbiere is the best explanation I have ever read!

I have tried to read it at least once a year for 20 years now.  With all the trials in my life, it's essential to my survival!

It's short and in essay form. 

Read it online for free here:
http://www.saintsbooks.net/books/Fr.%20J...idence.pdf