Why God Allows Pain, my answer to Draper


Pain and Pleasure: An Evidential Problem for Theists Author(s): Paul Draper Source: Noûs, Vol. 23, No. 3 (Jun., 1989), pp. 331-350 Published by: Wiley Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2215486 accessed 12/24/16


disclaimer: my views on God's motives are always theoretical, accept for the assumption of God's love

Paul Draper is a major philosopher in this day, he is one of the top two or three atheist philosophers,. He is the real deal, No mere Dawkings but a real thinker and formidable. He's a favorite of the Secular Outpost crowd. His major argument is the evidential argumnet on theodicy,. I know i'll probably fail but i take my turn as trying to whack his argument. My real goal is to hold my own, As Billy Abraham said of his great debate with Schubert Ogden "I attacked his destroyer iwth ny nine sweeper." At least he had a mine sweeper. I attack Draper's destroyer with my dilapidated tug boat.

I will argue in this paper that our knowledge about pain and pleasure creates an epistemic problem for theists. The problem is not that some proposition about pain and pleasure can be shown to be both true and logically inconsistent with theism. Rather, the problem is evidential. A statement reporting the observations and testimony upon which our knowledge about pain and pleasure is based bears a certain significant negative evidential relation to theism.' And because of this, we have a prima facie good epistemic reason to reject theism-that is, a reason that is sufficient for rejecting theism unless overridden by other reasons for not rejecting theism.[1] [2]

In other words we can't prove God has moral reasons for allowing POE and POP. He calls it epistemic and says the problem is evidential. So I assume he's saying we don't have good evidence, This is a catch 22 because to have good evidence we have to have something empirical to study if we had empirical evidence of God there would be no need to prove that God had good reasons,He would be God and that's all he needs, Now I do not way that as a  divine command guy, not the kind who thinks God is arbitrarily right all the because as God he can make evil good and so on,I say that because as the creator of all the basis of reality he would have the inside track in knowing good from evil and right from wrong even though it is not arbitrary and has a reasoned rationale.

So the argument is a chatch 22 because if we had the evidence he seeks we wouldn't need it. But God is not given in sense data, and thus is not empirical, We have no ready made undeniable proof of God.,That's why it's called a "belief," That's not to say we don't have good reasons for belief, it is to say that I suspect Draper is playing games with concepts of evidence. Notice his standard is  "we have a prima facie good epistemic reason to reject theism..." He's not demanding actual proof but a PF reason. That means we can meet the standard after all. That is to say the PF standard works both ways,If that's the standard he feels can live up to then it's also the standard he has to accept if I meet it,

He goes on to say  "a reason that is sufficient for rejecting theism unless overridden by other reasons for not rejecting theism." I can definatley give reasons for not rejecting it. I will ma,e a couple of proviso's: (1) by "theism" I include Panentheism; (2) I don't have to prove X is the case only that i have rational warrant for belief.

I find Draper's challenge to theism to be somewhat narrowly focused, although probably not as narrow as Dawkins.

There exists an omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect person who created the Universe. I will use the word "God" as a title rather than as a proper name, and I will stipulate that necessary and sufficient conditions for bearing this title are that one be an omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect person who created the Universe. Given this (probably technical) use of the term "God," theism is the statement that God exists. [3]
He is ruling out Tillich's view, probably without knowing it, because he stipulates God is "a person." Then he includes the omnis with no discussion as to their modern understanding, That's going to figure into a an understanding of defense for theiodicy since most of the blaming of God for pain and suffering assumes God is totally free to end all such suffering regardless of other goals.

He constricts a view Hypothesis of Indifference, (HI) with which to compare theistic views. He says essentially there or may not be such supernatural intetieds but ifso they are indifferent to human pain or evil. They are not donig evil they are just not conscenred,

Unlike theism, HI does not entail, that supernatural beings exist and so is consistent with naturalism. But HI is also consistent with the existence of supernatural beings. What makes HI inconsistent with theism is that it entails that, if supernatural beings do exist, then no action performed by them is motivated by a direct concern for our well-being. Now let "O" stand for a statement reporting both the observations one has made of humans and animals experiencing pain or pleasure and the testimony one has encountered concerning the observations others have made of sentient beings experiencing pain or pleasure. [4]

The problem here is really two fold. First, it's not really an argument to support atheism because it would allow for a God provided God is  not concerned, Said another way he limits his view of what God could be to the fundamentalist view so that any liberal modern view such as process theology or Tilllich's view of God as being itself would go under the category of indifferent even though neither process theologians nor Tillich would  understand God as indifferent, Secondly, if there is an indifferent God that's still God and thus atheism is false. This leads me to wonder ab out the ultimate bottom line of his argument, what is the final reasoning rumination? It can't be to support the view that there is no God. It's apparently just to disingender positive feelings for God. He does intimate that his ultimate goal is the rejection of theism,whatever that means, [5] That still leaves us hanging with the problematic situation that there may well be reason to believe in God but God woudl not qualify as theism so it's unclear as to how he would score that in relation to his argument,

Therefore I am going to show that there are good reasons to believe in God, to accept that God is not indifferent but am using the Tillich view of God so Draper's arguments don't apply, First I will show what my alternative is, and then show how Draper's argument fails to disprove my view. This will demonstrate that  we have a prima facie good epistemic reason to believe in God weather or not we codifier it theism...

The ultimate issue is an evidently based warrant for belief (which is how I interpret a PF reason to believe. Given what's already been said about this standard I think the defense that I will put up, my twist on FWD, counts as evidence because it not only fits in with the larger evidential scheme that I argue from but it also demonstrates in its own right that God can have rational reasons, I will briefly discuss two other kinds of evidence, but only go into details on the soteriological drama,

Soteriological Drama

My view is called "Soteriologiocal Drama," please read the link to the whole idea.[6] It begins with observations:

(1) The assumption that God wants a "moral universe" and that this value outweighs all others.

The idea that God wants a moral universe I take from my basic view of God and morality. Following in the footsteps of Joseph Fletcher (Situation Ethics) I assume that love is the background of the moral universe (this is also an Augustinian view). I also assume that there is a deeply ontological connection between love and Being. Axiomatically, in my view point, love is the basic impitus of Being itself. Thus, it seems reasonable to me that, if morality is an upshot of love, or if love motivates moral behavior, then the creation of a moral universe is essential. 

(2) that internal "seeking" leads to greater internalization of values than forced compliance or complaisance that would be the result of intimidation. 
That's a pretty fair assumption. We all know that people will a lot more to achieve a goal they truly beileve in than one they merely feel forced or obligated to follow but couldn't care less about. 
(3)the the drama or the big mystery is the only way to accomplish that end. 
The pursuit of the value system becomes a search of the heart for ultimate meaning,that ensures that people continue to seek it until it has been fully internalized. 
I don't think those are unreasonable assumptions, They are pretty standard.

The argument itself.

(1)God's purpose in creation: to create a Moral Universe, that is one in which free moral agents willingly choose the Good. 
(2) Moral choice requires absolutely that choice be free (thus free will is necessitated). 
(3) Allowance of free choices requires the risk that the chooser will make evil choices 
(4)The possibility of evil choices is a risk God must run, thus the value of free outweighs all other considerations, since without there would be no moral universe and the purpose of creation would be thwarted. 

This leaves the atheist in the position of demanding to know why God doesn't just tell everyone that he's there, and that he requires moral behavior, and what that entails. Thus there would be no mystery and people would be much less inclined to sin. 
This is the point where Soteriological Drama figures into it. Argument on Soteriological Drama: 

(5) Life is a "Drama" not for the sake of entertainment, but in the sense that a dramatic tension exists between our ordinary observations of life on a daily basis, and the ultiamte goals, ends and purposes for which we are on this earth. 
(6) Clearly God wants us to seek on a level other than the obvious, daily, demonstrative level or he would have made the situation more plain to us 
(7) We can assume that the reason for the "big mystery" is the internalization of choices. If God appeared to the world in open objective fashion and laid down the rules, we would probably all try to follow them, but we would not want to follow them. Thus our obedience would be lip service and not from the heart. 
(8) therefore, God wants a heart felt response which is internationalized value system that comes through the search for existential answers; that search is phenomenological; introspective, internal, not amenable to ordinary demonstrative evidence. 

In other words, we are part of a great drama and our actions and our dilemmas and our choices are all part of the way we respond to the situation as characters in a drama. 
This theory also explains why God doesn't often regenerate limbs in healing the sick. That would be a dead giveaway. God creates criteria under which healing takes place, that criteria can't negate the overall plan of a search. 
One might object that this couldn't outweigh babies dying or the horrors of war or the all the countless injustices and outrages that must be allowed and that permeate human history. It may seem at first glance that free will is petty compared to human suffering. But I am advocating free will for the sake any sort of pleasure or imagined moral victory that accrues from having free will, it's a totally pragmatic issue; that internalizing the value of the good requires that one choose to do so, and free will is essential if choice is required. Thus it is not a capricious or selfish defense of free will, not a matter of choosing our advantage or our pleasure over that of dying babies, but of choosing the key to saving the babies in the long run,and to understanding why we want to save them, and to care about saving them, and to actually choosing their saving over our own good. 

If I understand him correctly I think he's saying we know that biological organisms avoid pain and seek pleasure but we have no proof of any kind that there are moral reasons that excuse allowing pain,[7] Moreover, given the nature of biology it makes more sense to to think any kind of SN being that may have created the universe is indifferent to pain merely cause there is so much pain,

Mystical Experiece Provides both unshakable empirical evidence for the reality of God and for the love (compassion and concern) of God. This is backed by certain empirically based arguments taht I develop in my book The Trace of God.[8] This is more empirically based than  anything Draper offers. It may well constitute the evidentail aspect they seek.

From this background ai derive my founding observation:

(1) The assumption that God wants a "moral universe" and that this value outweighs all others.
The direct implication both of the transformative experience behind the observation establishes the goodness of Gd and the loving nature of God. Since that gives us a reason to believe in God we can trust that reason despite the seeming evidence to the contrary in Pain and suffering, That is a dimension with which Draper does not deal, we can know God is worthy of trust. Thus being worthy of trust we need not be necessarily certain of God';specific reasons,

Nevvertheless we can go further because we have a valid theoretical rationale,to explain God's preseasons in terms of the soteriological drama. That term means the dramna of salvation is based upon the need to seek for truth in order to internalize the values of the good. That means the search must be inviolable. So God can't clear the world of pain and suffering,If God did that there woudl be no search, None of the three counter thedocieies taht Draper answers include this facet.

this should count as PF evidence because it givs a logical rationale for god's allowance for pain while fitting into the larger framework that shows us god cares. However deep the depths of pain and evil in this would it is not gratuitous and does not outweigh my reasons for belief.,Whatever abstract logical victories Draper wins he does not ofer a final reason for abandoning belief that outweighs my PF reasons for beloief.


[1] Paul Draper, Pain and Pleasure: An Evidential Problem for Theists Author(s): Paul Draper Source: Noûs, Vol. 23, No. 3 (Jun., 1989), pp. 331-350 Published by: Wiley Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2215486 accessed 12/24/16, 331
(accessed 12/20/16)

[2] Jeff Lowder, "Index:Draper's Evidential Argument"Secular OUTPOST ,December 7, 2014,blog

[3] Draper, op cit,331

[4] Ibid 332

[5] Ibid 334

[6] Joseph Hinman, ",Soteriologocal Drama," The Religious a priori, on line resource, URL
accessed 1/2/17

[7] Deaper, op ciot336