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COVID-19: Good News and is God Evil for Allowing It to Happen? (LAST MINUTE)

Uploaded 4/10/2020, approx. 45 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

For all of you who are familiar with self-esteem and self-confidence, please send me messages.

Gullor. Sam Vaknin, we are with you. You are still very hated.

Right. Yesterday I created a conspiracy theory, and a wide concern, bigger than COVID-19. Was I drinking water in yesterday's Or was it secretly disguised, stealthy, vodka, or gin and tonic? Or God forbid beer, albeit probably not corona beer, because as we all know, it's infectious and if you drink corona beer, you get sick with COVID-19.

So there's this debate going on very seriously, whether the drink in my glass was water or something else, and whether I was egregiously lying about it through my teeth.

So in order not to leave anything in doubt, here's a glass and here's a bottle of Shanay Syrah. It's red wine, red wine, not beer, and I'm going to pour some of this red wine into this very big glass, then I'm going to put the bottle aside, I'm going to take a sip.

There you are.

Another conspiracy theory making the rounds is that I actually knew that the virus was coming.

Where's the proof?

In a series of interviews, documentaries, and videos that I've made alone and with others, I consistently compared social media to a self-limiting virus and on at least one occasion I had warned of a pandemic coming.

That much is true.

Probably the real explanation is that I'm a Mossad agent to infiltrate the Western world.

What's the proof?

My glass yesterday was orange, Donald Trump is orange hair.

What?

You can't see the connection. No way.

Veteran conspiracy theories like you can't see the connection.

Let's get serious, which does happen to me from time to time in this pandemic.

Why so much COVID in a channel ostensibly dedicated to narcissism?

Because I regard COVID-19, the pandemic, as a case study in global narcissism.

Global narcissism gave rise to the very reasons which spawned, like a demon seed, like a demon seed spawned COVID-19 and spawned the virus.

The way we screwed up with the planet, overpopulation, self-centeredness, collapsing community relationships, isolationism, both of countries and of individuals, malignant individualism, malignant egalitarianism, you name it.

There's a whole cascade of narcissistic effects and behaviors which have led inexorably to this pandemic.

COVID-19 is the case study in global narcissism.


What are the latest news?

Before we go to the latest news, this video is going to be divided into two parts.

I'm a Jew and all Jews divide everything to two parts.

So the first part is news from the pandemic and the second part has to do with God.

I have received, I can't tell you how many emails and how many messages and direct messages and indirect messages asking me whether the pandemic is a punishment by God, whether it is God retribution for our misconduct and misbehavior, both individually and as a species.

And so I'm going to deal in the second half of this video, I'm going to attempt to deal with an age old question.

If God is so benevolent and so good, how does he allow evil in the world? How does he allow suffering in the world?

But the first part has to do, as I promised, with news from the pandemic.

While you heard it here first, I've been saying for quite a few weeks that I think that about 20% of the global population is already infected with the virus.

Yesterday, Dr. Burks in the White House briefing confirmed it. She said that 1.5 million Americans have been tested and 20% of them have tested positive for the virus.

The virus is out there. If this is true, the mortality rate of the virus, the death rate of the virus, not the case fatality rate, remember, case fatality rate is how many people have been hospitalized out of whom, how many people died.

But the mortality rate, the death rate of the virus in the global population, the population out there, the people who don't bother to go to a doctor, don't bother to attend clinics, don't bother to hospitalize themselves.

People with mild symptoms, etc.

So the death rate would be actually one-tenth the death rate of the flu.

If this is true, 20% are infected, COVID-19 is far less deadly than the seasonal, your average seasonal, homemade flu.

As predicted, as I've predicted in a series of videos, luckily, YouTube provides a timestamp.

So these are not just empty boasting.

As I had predicted repeatedly, I said three weeks ago that the pandemic will start to abate this week.

Then two weeks ago, I said the pandemic will be over next week.

And I think that's precisely what's happening.

Pandemic is abating.

Is it the result of quarantine? Is it the result of self-isolation? Is it the result of social distancing?

Absolutely not.

If you take into account the incubation period of this virus, which ranges anywhere from four days to 27 days, and with an average of 14 days, you will see that the peak of a pandemic, the infection period, infectious period started well before the most recent measures of social isolation and distancing and so on.


I would like to refer you to yet another scholar.

And this video's guest scholar is Professor Knut Vidovichsky.

I really am not making these names up. And I apologize to all of you for inflicting them upon you.

But he is a great guy and he has fascinating things to say, and he is by far the most qualified voice.

So Knut Vidovichsky, W-I-T-K-O-S-K-I, ski, Knut.

And now I am going to play a game with you.

How many of you have heard of respiratory syncytial virus infection? What?

You never heard of it? You ignorance.

Respiratory syncytial virus infection or also known as RSV is, as the name implies, a respiratory syndrome.

It affects breathing. It actually stops it.

There's the CDC, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and they have statistics.

Last year, this utterly unheard of disease, utterly, many medical doctors haven't heard of it.

So last year, this disease caused 177,000 hospitalizations, 177,000 people were hospitalized, of which 14,000 people had died in the United States alone, almost as many as COVID-19.

I don't remember any panic over RSV. I don't remember quarantine, social isolation, social distancing.

And yes, before you ask, it's infectious.

Actually, it's more infectious than COVID-19.


Another bit of interesting news, and it's interesting only because it agrees with me, of course.

So another bit of interesting news, the National Academy of Sciences in the United States came out and said that cloth masks are probably inefficient, probably inefficacious.

The jury is out there, but there were strong hints.

I mean, the National Academy of Sciences would never conflict with the medical establishment directly. They're all in it, they're all sharing the same cake, and no one speaks where one eats.

So they're saying it very gently and subtly, that cloth masks suck, and they do nothing.

The WHO, the World Health Organization, and numerous governments, including minor governments like the government of the United Kingdom, they say that masks don't work.

Cloth masks, surgical masks, no mask works.

So both of them are against masks. I'm against masks as well, and I'm against masks because I know the literature, and I took trouble to survey it, to read it actually, to download it and read it, actually.

I have passwords and usernames for all the major databases in the world, and I was able to read the literature.

Masks are not protective, end of story. They don't protect.

What they do, they give you a false sense of safety.

Now that's good in itself.

I would say that masks are anxiolytic. They reduce anxiety.

Are they wrong with it?

We need that too.

Apropos anxiety and other mental health issues, I think one of the biggest problems would be that people will have to return because of economic hardship. Many people will have to return to live with their parents and reunite with their exes.

Divorce people.

We go back together.

People who detest their parents, can't stand their parents, and ran away will have to return tail between the legs.

This economy is going to force merge and force reunite and force fuse people who should never ever be together.

In psychological terms, this will create at least three effects.

It will force people to reenact, to live through unresolved old conflicts. It will revive unresolved old conflicts. It will create something called compromised closure.

Closure that is not real. People would cheat themselves that they have obtained closure just in order to coexist, to survive with their exes and parents.

So this is not real closure, it's self-deception.

And finally, of course, it will create massive amounts of triggering.

I foresee another pandemic coming, and that's a pandemic of mental health disorders, and I'm by far not the only one who foresees this.

Breakups and divorces will skyrocket, and mental health issues will swarm us in a tsunami wave the likes of which we have never ever seen before.

Society today is much more fragile than it had been in the 1930s and 40s. It's even much more fragile than it had been in the 1960s with the Vietnam War.

Society today cannot withstand these shockwaves because it's atomized, it's anomic, and it's highly dysfunctional.

And one last bit of possibly good news.

Antibody tests are out there, contrary to what I've said yesterday.

Here I admit a rare, rare mistake, pounce on it, don't let it go, post comments how I made a mistake.

So I made a mistake, there are antibody tests, they are not available to the white public, the tests are still being tested, they're still being clinically trialed, but these trials are going on both in the United States, for example, in Dayton, Ohio, and in Europe, for example, in Germany.

Very shortly, very shortly, we will have antibody tests, workable antibody tests.

There's a different issue altogether, whether they can be mass manufactured, manufactured to size.

There needs to be millions of them. There need to be billions of them to have any meaning whatsoever.

As promised, let's go to the issue of God, evil, and the pandemic.

There's no question that the pandemic is evil, evil in the sense that it causes, it engenders bad outcomes.

Now it's not evil in the sense that it's premeditated. No one sat there and invented the pandemic. No, it's not a bio weapon, it's not connected to any technology.

Let's get rid of all this nonsensical, feeble-minded, idiotic, not to use harsher words, conspiracy theories.

But it's bad, definitely it's not good.

Why does God allow things like pandemics, the death of young children, the Holocaust, genocides, why does God allow for these things to happen if God is totally good?

I would like to read to you a few quotes and I would like then to deal with this issue.

This issue has a name, it's called Theodicy.

It's ages old and there have been debates about this since time immemorial, literally since the moment we invented God, since the moment we have invented this father-like figure, this patron, this person who is full of benevolence and so on, since that moment we started to ask the question, then how is evil possible?

And I'd like to read to you a few quotes.

The first quote is by a chap called Anisius Manlius Severinus Boethius. He lived between 480 and 524, that means about 1,500 years ago, and he was a Roman philosopher and statesman. And he wrote a book called The Consolation of Philosophy, which is still absolutely valid. Absolutely valid. It reads like a self-help book written by a life coach, a modern life coach.

I am shocked that Boethius, albeit dead, does not have a YouTube channel. So that's what he wrote. There is nothing that an omnipotent God, all powerful God, could not do.

No.

Then he says no.

It's like today we say not. And then he says, well, in this case, if an omnipotent God can do anything, can God do evil?

No.

God cannot do evil.

So that means that evil is nothing, since that is what he cannot do, who can do anything.

In other words, what he's saying is this.

If God can do anything, and he cannot do evil, then evil is nothing.

Well, that's a fine example of sophistry and scholasticism.

Another chap by the name of Quentin Smith wrote an interesting book called The Anthropic Coincidences, Evil and the Disconfirmation of Theism.

And he wrote, an implication of intelligent design may be that the designer is benevolent, and as such, the constants and structures of the universe are life-friendly.

However, such intelligent designers may conceivably be malevolent.

It doesn't have to be benevolent.

How do we know that God is malevolent?

Maybe he is malevolent, like the Gnostics said.

It is reasonable to conclude that God does not exist, since God is omnipotent, omniscient and perfectly good, and thereby would not permit any gratuitous natural evil.

But since gratuitous natural evils are precisely what we would expect if a malevolent spirit created the universe, if any spirit created the universe, it must be benevolent, not benevolent.

And that is essentially the Gnostic argument.

Both of the Gnostics said that there are two gods, the one who created Earth, the one who made creation, created the universe, is Demiurge.

It's kind of a demi-god, and he is malevolent.

Lucretius said essentially the same in Latin.

Richard Dawkins, the famous evolutionary biologist, very photogenic, very handsome, traces the roots of evil to organized religion and to faith itself.

The belief in a god has spawned all manner of wickedness and malice throughout history, says Dawkins, correctly.

But religion is merely a private case of a much larger phenomenon.

Men's quest for meaning, the search for an organizing exegetic, explanatory, hermeneutic, overriding, all-encompassing and all-pervasive principle.

The yearning for sense and justice amidst apparent randomness and chaos.

We all have this, and some of us find the answer in God.

Indeed, secular religions, known as ideologies, have proven to be even more lethal and pernicious than the epiphanic variety.

Nazism, communism, and fascism have wreaked more mayhem and generated more death than any divinely-inspired counterpart.

So did nationalism, and to a large extent, so did liberal democracy.

We'll go into it some other time.


This still leaves the perplexing question of evil and its convoluted relationships with all manners and modalities of faith.

Whether you're an atheist, which I'm not. Whether you're agnostic, which I am. Whether you're a fervid believer, which I despise.

The questions of why evil exists, what purpose evil serves, and how are evil and justice intertwined, these questions torment all of us on a daily basis.

I'm asking myself the same question that a Christian fundamentalist would ask, or even a Muslim militant.


Let's start with the logical problem of evil.

God is omniscient. He knows everything. He is omnipotent. He's all-powerful. And he's good.

We don't discuss here the more limited versions of a divine designer or a divine creator.

We go the whole nine yards. There's a God, and this God can do anything, knows everything, and he's good.

Why, therefore, won't such a God eliminate evil?

If he's all-powerful, why does it destroy evil?

If he cannot destroy evil, if he cannot do so, then he is not all-powerful or he is not all-knowing. And if he will not do so, if he refuses to do so, then surely he is not good.

Epicurus is said to have been the first to offer this simplistic formulation of the logical a priori, a priori or deductive problem of evil.

And later, there was another guy called David Hume in the 18th century, and he expounded on it in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, published in 1779.

Evil is a value judgment. A plainly human culture bound depends on the culture, period-specific construct.

And Thomas Aquinas called evil en svecionis, the subjective perception of relationships between objects and persons, or persons and objects, or, for example, the pandemic.

Some religions, Hinduism, Christian science, some religions shrug off evil as an illusion, the outcome of our intellectual limitations and our mortality.

As St. Augustine explained in his seminal The City of God in the 5th century, what to us appears heinous and atrocious may merely be an integral part of a long-term divine plan whose aim is to preponderate good.

So evil leads to good, results in good.

By the way, something I can attest to from my extremely limited personal experience.

Everything I thought even led only to good.

Leibniz postulated in his Theodicy in 1710 that evil, moral evil, physical evil, metaphysical evil, is an inevitable part of the best logically possible world, a cosmos of plenitude, and the greatest possible number of what he called compatible perfections.

Okay, you saved, hold your horses.


What about acts such as murder? What about something like rape, at least in peacetime? What about horrendous evil?

It's a phrase coined by Marilyn Adams to refer to unspeakable horrors.

There is no belief system that condones these things. They are universally considered to be evil.

No, I will tell you murder is good.

It is hard to come up with a moral calculus that would justify these acts, no matter how broad the temporal and spatial frame of reference, and no matter how many degrees of freedom we allow.

Even the Nazis, when they murdered the Jews, they did so by rendering the Jews non-human. They claimed to be murdering, not humans, but vermin, bacteria. They claimed that the Holocaust was a measure of sanitation, that they're cleansing Europe for a better future. They aimed for good.

That's the horrible irony of the Holocaust. The Nazis, who perpetrated the Holocaust, believed that they were doing a good thing for the benefit of humanity.

The Augustinian Aetiology of Evil, that it is the outcome of bad choices by creatures endowed with a free will.

This Aetiology is of little help. It fails to explain why would a sentient, sapient being fully aware of the consequences of his actions and their adverse impacts on himself and on others? Why would such a being choose evil?

When misdeeds are aligned with the furtherance of one's self-interest, evil, narrowly considered, appears to be a rational choice.

For a psychopath, evil is a rational choice.

But as William Rouso observed, many gratuitously wicked acts are self-defeating, self-destructive, irrational, and purposeless.

Sometimes evil is just evil. It leads no one. It's an entity in itself. It's like people revel and are delighted to be and to do evil.

They do not give rise. These acts don't give rise to any good, nor do they prevent a greater evil. They increase the sum of misery in the world.

As Alvin Plantinga suggested in 1974, 1977, and as Bonaventure and Saint Thomas Aquinas, centuries before him, evil may be an inevitable and tolerated by-product of free will.

God has made himself absent from a human volition that is free, non-deterministic, and non-determinate.

This divine withdrawal is the process known as self-limitation or, as the Kabbalah calls it, sin-tsun, reduction, minimization.

Where there is no God, the door to evil is wide open.

God therefore can be perceived as having absconded and having let evil in so as to facilitate man's ability to make truly free choices.

It can even be argued that God inflicts pain and ignores, if not leverages, evil in order to engender growth, learning, and maturation.

This pandemic looks bad. In hindsight, it may prove to be a good thing, exactly as the Black Death did.

The Black Death has transformed humanity and Europe and history in good ways, not in bad.

It is a God, not of indifference, as proposed by theologians and philosophers from Lactantius to Paul Draper, but it's a God of tough love.

As Zayas puts it plainly, I make peace and I create evil.


Back to the issue of freeway.

The ability to choose between options is the hallmark of intelligence.

The entire edifice of human civilization rests on the assumption that people's decisions, ererningly, express and reflect their unique set of preferences, needs, priorities, and wishes.

Our individuality is inextricably intermeshed with our ability not to act predictably and not to succumb to peer pressure or to group dynamics.

The capacity to choose evil is precisely what makes us human.

Things are different with natural evil.

We are coming now to the pandemic.

Natural evil is disasters, diseases, premature death.

Things have very little to do with human choices and human agency, unless we accept Richard Swinburne's anthropocentric or should I say anthropic belief that these natural disasters are meant to foster virtuous behaviors. They are meant to teach us survival skills. They are meant to enhance positive human traits, including the propensity for a spiritual bond with God and soul making.

This is a belief shared by the Mutazili School of Islam and by theologians from Irenius of Lyon and Saint Basil or even John Hick.

But let's be more realistic.

Natural calamities are not the results of free will.

Why would a benevolent God allow natural calamities to happen if they play no role in human psychology and human choice?

Because nature supports its own version of free will in determinacy.

As Leibniz and Malbarsh noted, the laws of nature are pretty simple, not so the permutations and combinations of the laws of nature.

Unforeseeable emergent complexity characterizes a myriad beneficial natural phenomena. It makes them possible.

The degrees of freedom inherent in all advantageous natural processes come with a price tag and this price tag is natural catastrophes.

I didn't say that, like in heartbeat.

Genetic mutations drive biological evolution, but the same mechanism of mutation gives rise to cancer. Late tectonics yielded our continents upon which we resigned and also biodiversity.

But the same tectonic shift leads to fatal earthquakes and tsunamis.

Physical evil is the price that we pay for a smoothly functioning and a fine-tuned universe.

I'll deal with it in another video.


So this is the logical problem of evil.

But there is another type of approach to the whole question and that is what we call the evidential problem of evil.

Some philosophers, for example, the aforementioned William Rous and Paul Draper, some philosophers suggest that the preponderance of specific horrific gratuitous types of evil does not necessarily render God logically impossible.

In other words, they say that the problem of evil is not a logical problem. It just renders God highly unlikely and this is known as the evidential or probabilistic a posteriori inductive problem of evil.

As opposed to the logical version of the problem of evil, the evidential problem of evil relies on our fallible and limited judgment.

It goes like this.

Upon deep reflection, we human beings, limited as we are, cannot find a good reason for God to tolerate and to not act against intrinsic evil, against gratuitous evil that can be prevented without either vanquishing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.

When we make this utilitarian calculus, God fails.

Since intrinsic evil abounds, it is highly unlikely that God exists.

In other words, if there's a God, he cannot fail this calculus.

Since he seems to fail this calculus, it's likely that he doesn't exist.

Take face, counter, by deriding such things.

How can we, with our finite intellect, ever hope to grasp God's motives and God's plan for humanity?

His reasons for action are beyond us. His reasons for inaction are equally beyond us.

To attempt to explicate and justify God via theodicy is not only blasphemous, it is also presumptuous. It's futile, and in all likelihood, wrong.

It leads to fallacies, it leads to falsities.

Yet even if our intelligence were perfect, even if we were God-like and omniscient, and most narcissists are, of course, it would not necessarily have been identical to or coextensive with God's intelligence.

In other words, even if I were omniscient, all knowing, and even if I had access to all the information in the world simultaneously, I would still not be God.

His intelligence might be different. His reasoning process might be different.

I just don't know. I have no access to him. I have no access to anyone.

As we well know from experience, multiple intelligences with the same attributes often obtain completely different behaviors and traits. This happens very frequently in artificial intelligence.

Same program, same input, different results. Two omniscient intellects can reach diametrically opposed conclusions, even given the same set of data.

We can turn the evidential argument from evil on its head, and following Swinburne, paraphrase Rous, and say, if there is an omnipotent and omniscient being, then there are specific cases of such a being's intentionality which do allow evil occurrences that have wrong-making properties, that there are right-making characteristics, that it is reasonable to believe exist, or unreasonable to believe do not exist.

We can say that both apply to the cases in question and are sufficiently serious to counterbalance the relevant wrong-making characteristics.

Sign back and listen to this again, it's a very powerful argument.

Therefore it is likely that, and here comes the inductive leap from the Odyssey to defense, it is likely that if there is an omnipotent and omniscient being, God, then there is the case of such a being intentionally allowing specific or even all evil occurrences that have wrong-making properties.

Why?

Such that there are right-making characteristics that it is reasonable to believe exist or unreasonable to believe do not exist, including right-making characteristics that we are not aware of, that both apply to the cases in question or to all evil and are sufficiently serious to counterbalance the relevant wrong-making characteristics.

It's a very convoluted way of saying there's no evil without good, there's no cloud without a silver lining, and you can't presume that you know all the clouds and all the silver linings.

There are too many, or they are too complex, or they are too removed, or they are not yours, and you have no access to someone else's mind.


Back to reality, given our limitations, what to us may appear evil and gratuitous, he, God, may regard as necessary and even beneficial.

Philosophers like Olsten, Wijkstra, and Plantinga, even worse.

We cannot fathom God's mind because we cannot fathom any mind other than our own minds.

If you can't fathom someone else's mind, another person, human being, with whom you have so much in common, how are you expected to fathom God's mind with whom you have nothing in common?

This doubly applies to God, whose mind is infinite, omniscient.

If God does exist, his mind is definitely alien and inaccessible to us, there is no possible intersubjectivity between God and me.

We cannot empathize with God. God and man have no common ground, they have no language, they may have bridges, they may have emissaries, they may have connections, they may even communicate, but they have nothing in common.

It is not God's epistemic distance which can be bridged by learning to love God and worship Him. Rather, it is an unbridgeable cousin.

Of course, some philosophers have realized that if God and man have nothing in common then you cannot access God's mind, but God cannot access your mind.

The inaccessibility may cut both ways.

Open face, harking back to the Sosinians in the 17th century, they say that God cannot predict our moves, they say that God doesn't care to predict our moves, having created the universe he has moved on, leaving the world and its inhabitants to their own devices.

Yes, God doesn't care about us because He cannot possibly know what it is to be human.

He does not feel our pain, He is incapable of empathizing with us.

Yes, I know, I know, it sounds like a narcissist.

But this view of an indifferent God negates His imputed benevolence, His imputed omnipotence.

What gives?

This view of God raises two questions.

If His mind is inaccessible to us, how could we positively know anything about Him?

The answer is that maybe we don't know anything about Him.

Maybe our knowledge about God actually pertains to someone else, not to God.

For example, to us.

The Gnostic said that we are praying to the wrong divinity, the entity that created the universe is the demiurge, not God.

If our minds are inaccessible to Him, how does God make Himself known to us?

Again, the answer may well be that God does not make Himself known to us, and that all our so-called knowledge is sheer confabulation.

Very comforting, but still self-deception.

This would explain the fact that what we think we know about God doesn't sit well with a plenitude of wickedness around us and with nature's brutality.

Be that as it may, we seem to have come back full circle to the issue of free will.

Free will.

God cannot foresee our choices, our decisions, our behaviors, because God has made us libertarian free moral agents.

We areof God's control and determination. We are out of His comprehension.

Only there is no predestination, as the Calvinist suggests.

We can choose evil, and there is very little God can do about it, as history proves.


There is a problem of a seity in evil.

Both formulations of the problem of evil assume, Soto Voche, that God maintains an intimate relationship with His creation, or even that the essence of God would have been different without the world, without His creation.

MEDITER IV believed, narcissistically, that demons and angels were waging a battle over their precious immortal souls.

This implied and micromanaged intimacy with the Divine runs contrary to the godly attribute of a seity which states, flatly, that God is self-sufficient, doesn't need us, and does not depend for His existence, attributes or functioning, on any thing outside Himself and on any one outside It.

It is a closed system.

God, therefore, by definition, cannot be concerned with the cosmos, and with any of its characteristics, including the manifestations of good and evil.

Moreover, the principle of a seity of self-sufficiency, taken to its logical conclusion, implies that God does not interact with the world, and does not change the world.

This means that God cannot or will not either prevent evil or bring it about.

So is God a malicious being?

That's the way it sounds.

If you see evil and you stand back and you do nothing about it, you're an accomplice. You're an accomplice. You are equally evil.

Evil is very often about being weak. Evil is very often about being spineless. Evil is very often about not rebelling, about not tearing down other evil people.

A universe that gives rise to gratuitous evil may indicate the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient but also supremely malevolent creator.

Again, turning on its head the familiar consequentialist attempt to refute the evidential argument from evil, we get, quoting from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophies article about the problem of evil, we get, an action is by definition morally right if and only if it is among the actions that one could have performed, an action that produces at least as much value as every alternative action.

An action is morally wrong if and only if it is not morally right, as aforementioned, therefore defined.

If one is an omnipotent and omniscient being, then for any action whatsoever, there is always some alternative action that produces greater value.

In other words, the actions of an omnipotent and omniscient being, God, are always morally wrong because he could have always done better.

Why could he have done better?

Because he is all powerful.

You know, it's whatever he does that is good is not good enough, never good enough because there is not, there is never enough of God.

God is not limited in anyone. It's never morally right what he does.

This is because among the actions that such a being could have performed, instead of the action that he did perform, there is an infinity of alternatives that produce greater value.

Moreover, an only benevolent, merciful and just God is hardly likely to have instituted an infinite hell for non-believers.

Think about it.

Would a good, benevolent God have created hell and if he had created hell, would he have made it infinite?

This is more in tune with a wicked, vicious divinity.

To suggest the hell is the sinner's personal choice not to be with God, to sin, to renounce his grace.

This doesn't solve the problem.

For why would a being such as God allow mere ignorant, defective mortals, a choice that may lead them straight to hell?

Why doesn't God protect us, imperfect as we are, from the terrifying outcomes of our initiates, ignorance and imperfection? Why?

He doesn't protect us.

And what kind of choice is it anyway?

Believe in me or else, believe in me or else burn in hell or be annihilated? One hell of a choice.

So is mankind usurping God or is mankind fulfilling God's plan?

A morally perfect God and even a morally imperfect God would surely wish to minimize certain horrendous type of gratuitous evil, albeit without sacrificing the greater good and while forstalling even greater evils.

How can God achieve these admirable and egosyntonic goals without micromanaging the world and without reading it of the twin gifts of free will and indeterminacy?

It's not true that he can.

In other words, it's either or.

Either you have a world that is totally one way, totally good, totally evil, then you don't have free will and you don't have indeterminacy. Or if you have free will in indeterminacy, you have to accept that some things will be evil, wicked, broken, rotten. If there is a God, he may have placed us on this earth to function as moral policemen. It may be our role to fight evil and to do our best to eradicate it.

And this is the view of the Kabbalah and to some extent Hegel.

We are God's right-making agents. We are his long arm. We are his extension.

Gradually mankind acquires abilities, either to regard it as the exclusive domain of God. We can cure diseases, we can eliminate pain, we can overcome poverty, extend life, fight crime, do justice. These were all divine attributes once.

In the not-too-distant future, we are likely to be able to retard aging, ameliorate natural catastrophes, eradicate delinquency, or even create new life.

You do remember the film, Clockwork? Even a future world in which, due to human ingenuity and efforts, evil is no more. Will free will vanish with evil? Will it become a relic of a long-forgotten past? Will we lose our incentive and capacity to learn, to improve, to develop, to grow? Will we perish of too much good, as in H. G. Wells' dystopian novel The Time Machine?

Why is it that God tolerates evil, and we seek to dispose of it?

In trying to resist evil and limit it, are we acting against the divine will and the divine plan? Or are we complying with it?

We don't know.

It's a problem.

Are we risking his wrath, God's wrath, every time we temper with nature? Every time we counter our propensity for wickedness? Or is this precisely what he has in store and in mind for us, and why he has made us?


Many of these questions resolve as if by magic, once we hold God to be merely a psychological construct, a cultural artifact, an invention.

The new science of neural religion traces faith to specific genes and specific neurons.

Indeed, God strikes some people as a glorified psychological difference mechanism, intended to fend off intimations of a universe that is random, meaningless, an ipso facto, profoundly unjust and threatening by human criteria.

By limiting God's omnipotence, since he is not capable of evil thoughts and deeds, even as we trumpet ours, we have rendered his creation less threatened and the world more habitable and welcoming.

I'll repeat this sentence. It's not easy to comprehend.

When we say that God is not capable of evil thoughts and deeds, we are limiting his omnipotence.

We are saying that he is not, there are some things he is not capable of, he is not unpowerful.

And at the same time, we trumpet our omnipotence.

We say he is not capable of evil thoughts, he is not capable of evil deeds, but we are.

And that's a libertarian view of free will, of course.

But by doing this, we have rendered his creation less threatened and the world more habitable and welcoming.

We had to get rid of some of God's attributes in order to feel that we are safe.


If he is up there, he may be smiling upon our accomplishments against all odds.

I want to mention one thing about evil and sin.

We've been medicalizing sin, we've been medicalizing wrongdoing.

With Freud and his disciples started the medicalization of what was hitherto known as sin or wrongdoing.

As the vocabulary of public discourse shifted from religious terms to scientific ones, offensive behaviors that constitute the transgressions against the divine or social order have been relabeled.

Self-centeredness and dysempathic egocentricity have now come to be known as pathological narcissism.

Criminals have been transformed into psychopaths.

Their behavior, though still described as antisocial, the almost deterministic outcome of a deprived childhood or a genetic predisposition to a brain biochemistry, gun or eye.

And this casts in doubt the very existence of free will and free choice between good and evil.

The contemporary science of psychopathology, clinical psychology, now amounts to a godless variant of culturism, a kind of predestination by nature or by nurture.

I would like to end this discourse by referring to a brilliant movie called The Place, a 2017 movie, Italian movie, a proposed pandemic.

A man sits at the back of a cheap resto bar and receives a seemingly endless stream of visitors.

His interlocutors come to ask him to grant them their wishes.

They are willing to do anything to realize their hidden most fantasies.

They're willing to rape a young woman. They're willing to assassinate a toddler. They're willing to place a bomb in a busy discotheque.

So these are the horrible tasks assigned to them by the mysterious figure in return for the guaranteed fulfillment of their wishes.

Many of them, including a man, have a thwarted relationship with God, with good, with evil, with family, with parents, with children.

In short, they are all typical human beings.

From the very beginning of this cinematic masterpiece, things don't quite mesh.

The stranger appears to be empathic, he appears to be compassionate, worn out by the stories he hears.

His lying face, a mask of pain, an absolution. He never judges. He's saintly. He always understands. He always accepts the frailties of his applicants, or shall I say, supplicants.

In a voluminous black-bound leather book, he meticulously records the inner dynamics, quirks, tortuous pathways, the emotions of his clients.

These are the only times that he perks up, as a scholar of the human mind, soul and heart.

Everyone thinks he's the devil. Everyone in the movie castigate him for being the devil, for being Satan.

But he keeps insisting that he is not a decision maker, that he is working for a higher instance and that he is concerned only with the details.

Of course, the devil is in the details.

But gradually it becomes evident that he is a mere courier, a salesperson, or at most a mid-level manager.

But who is his boss?

It's not easy to ascertain, for two reasons.

First, he often allocates tasks so that one of his supplicants obstructs the other, and he prevents the hideous events from actually transpiring.

And the outcomes of his assignments are invariably good, beneficial. Even I would say therapeutic.

The Black Basti made Angela praises him for listening to people and conjectures that he is a psychologist, to my deep gratification.

Angela falls in love with this enigmatic benefactor of humanity.

She tries to bring light and life to his dreary confinement in the restaurant bar.

At the very last moment of the film, it becomes clear that Angela is an emissary of God, Angel, and that her love can redeem this man and set him free from his purgatory.

She signs the last entry in his book, and whoever is superior may be, she prevails.

The fur is a daring exposition of the Odyssey, of the question of evil.

It challenges and rebuffs our traditional views of good and evil, God and Satan.

These concepts are fluid, and they seamlessly intermesh to form unities, says the author of the film.

Our self-righteous distinctions are too crass to truly capture the finer-grained intricacies, nuances, and subtleties of life.

We judge others because we are limited entities and because we are grandiose narcissists, and we think we know everything, about everyone, all the time.

We don't.

Things may be preordained, including the pandemic.

But only if and when we settle on certain choices.

The enigmatic man keeps telling his procedures.

You can cancel the contract. You can forgo your wish.

I cannot change what's written in this black book, but you can walk away.

It is a rebuke of Calvinist predetermination and its pernicious abrogation of responsibility.

The film is a celebration of the freedom and angst that are the human condition, and how each fork in the road gives us a chance and the power to defy even the devil.

You know what?

Even God himself.

As we mold ourselves and our personal histories with our two mortal hands.

It is up to us what this pandemic will do. It is up to us how the world will look after this cataclysm.

We should not blame the pandemic or evil or God.

Ultimately, the buck stops here with you.

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