Check out what I read in Portable Atheist, from Bertrand Russell's An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish:

 

"There are logical difficulties in the notion of sin. We are told that sin consists in disobedience to God's commands, but we are also told that God is omnipotent. If He is, nothing contrary to His will can occur; therefore when the sinner disobeys His commands, He must have intended this to happen."

 

So if god is all powerful, we can't act contradictory to his commands, so their really isn't any sin.

 

What do you guys think of this?

Tags: all, commands, disobedience, god, omnipotence, powerful, sin

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That's a rather flawed argument, imo.  Having the power to act does not mean one has the inclination.  If I see a woman being raped and have a gun in my pocket, I could stop it, but what if I choose not to act?  Does this mean that the rape never happened, simply because I had the power to stop it?  Further, does this mean that the rape could not have possibly happened because there existed someone who was capable of preventing it?  The power to act does not equate to the will to act.  Any half competent apologist would dismantle this argument with the old "free will" nugget; that God has the power to prevent anything but CHOOSES not to so that we can have free will and that if God did choose to control us like puppets, even to prevent evil, then HE would be the one who is evil and we would not be his followers, but his mindless slaves.

 

I spent a long time as an apologist, I know how they think :)

 

If I see a woman being raped and have a gun in my pocket, I could stop it, but what if I choose not to act?  Does this mean that the rape never happened, simply because I had the power to stop it?

That's not the line of reasoning in the argument.  If you have the power to stop the rape, yet willingly choose not to, the rape was permitted by your will.  Can you condemn the rapist without condemning yourself as well?

Ah, but a Christian would fall back on the old "It's not evil if GOD does it" because he "has a plan" and whatnot.  Which, yes, obviously screws up the whole free will thing, but let's remember that if these people could think rationally, they wouldn't believe this crap in the first place :)
if you let rape happen when you could clearly stop it then your simply a fucked up person, i mean cmon..what normal person would sit there and let rape happen if they had the power to stop it
Good question, isn't it? :)
A rapist.

I don't agree with your analogy based on what Kris Feenstra said. But you are right about the free will argument, which I started thinking about a little bit after I posted this. I would still argue that if a theist says god commands us to do something, and he is all powerful, then we are powerless not to follow his commands, so we can't be disobedient to god's commands. But with free will, god doesn't make any commands, only suggestions. I guess the bible is the big book of suggestions :)

 

I still find the free will argument hard to swallow for a number of reasons. The threat of hell, the needless suffering not caused by humans, the idea of free will existing in heaven yet no evil happening there, etc. I also wonder if allowing a rapist or murderer to commit those horrible acts, and all the other suffering in the world, would be worth it. I couldn't stand by letting it happen if I had the power to stop it.

Nay... it doesn't mean that the rape never happened. It means that [forgive me]... that you either 1. wished the rape to happen or 2. Didn't give a damn.

Either way... if you are an omnipotent being with the power to stop it... whatever happens... is within your will.

I would argue that this position, that nothing can occur outside his knowledge, is more related to whether God is omniscient that to whether he is omnipotent.
If God isn't omniscient then he isn't omnipotent.

If only theists would analyze things like this...

 

I think Russell's right, to some extent. You would have to add the omnipresence, and you have a winner. He is all powerful, but he's stuck on vacation, so he can't stop us from killing each other. If he's omnipresent too, then he's just a sadist.

If God isn't omnipresent then he isn't omnipotent. Both omniscience and omnipresence are presupposed within the concept of being literally all-powerful.

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