Wednesday 3rd of March 2021

evil is a black cat...

evil cat....

The ABC religious and ethics unit carries on, once more, looking at god's navel... Here I don't know what to make of a philosopher who does not appear to believe in god but could be, as she throws us back into the jaws of legendary history, the "Book of Job". It's been a long time since I looked at this book of legends...

But then I got lost when she claimed that the problem of "evil" was the central point where philosophy begins and threatens to stop... As a committed atheist, "evil" has long lost traction in my field of visions and I can still philosophise hopefully without loosing my pants. Here she (Susan Neiman) goes:


I am a philosopher who believes that Western philosophy begins not with Plato, but elsewhere, and earlier, with the Book of Job. That is because I believe that the problem of evil is the central point where philosophy begins, and threatens to stop.

The experience of inexplicable suffering and basest injustice forces us to ask whether our lives have meaning, or whether human existence may be deeply incomprehensible. And if that is the case, then the urge to philosophy can seem to be a simple mistake. Put more optimistically: if the task of philosophy is to show how the world is, or can be made rational, then it must address the presence of evil in the world.

Consider the classic statement of the problem of evil. It consists of three sentences which are impossible to maintain together:

  1. God exists, and is omnipotent
  2. God exists, and is benevolent
  3. Evil exists

Classically, the majority of thinkers dealt with the problem by denying the third claim. Evil doesn't exist, or anyway not really: you can't have light without having shadows; you wouldn't want to eat sugar all the time and nothing salty (these are Leibniz's examples.) Everything we take to be evil actually happens for the best, and if we knew all that God knows we would understand that too.

--------------------- Conclusion:


Thus, while the book as a whole is a warning against arrogance, it is also a reminder of the need for moral action. Of course, this is explicitly denied by traditional readings, which suggest that passive acceptance of Creation, not an active attempt to change it, is the only wise attitude for human beings to hold. But then, as I mentioned in beginning, traditional readings usually censored, or tried to read away crucial pieces of text. On the reading that I have been sketching, God Himself asserts the need for human moral vigilance, and action: "Am I wrong because you are right?"

Viewing Job's claim as the claim that reality should become reasonable is one way of seeing how both God, and Job, could speak the truth: the one a truth about the way the world is; the other, a truth about the way it should be. It is this that we call moral clarity, when we have the good sense or good fortune to achieve it.

Susan Neiman is a moral philosopher and director of the Einstein Forum in Potsdam, Germany. She is the author of Evil in Modern ThoughtMoral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-up Idealists and Why Grow Up? She has also edited (with Hilary Putnam and Jeffrey Schloss) Understanding Moral Sentiments: Darwinian Perspectives?



-------------------------------- Gus: Below is one of the commentator philosophers:




09 Sep 2014 12:28:38pm

One can say - 'Third, "the problem of evil" isn't a central or important philosophical issue. It's a non-issue for atheists, followers of non-theist religions, polytheists, and so on.' However this is not honest. Atheists etc lock their doors too, they want justice when they are wronged and they weep and mourn when they experience loss. On this vast planet we are the only ones bothered by suffering, death, loss. The Bible says 'I have written eternity in your hearts'. We can theorise, philosophise all we want and say that 'evil is a non-issue' but we can't live that way. How do you prove something in science? Nobody has ever seen a quark, an atom or gravity, but we start with a premise and say - does this thing explain the way things are and without it do things not make sense? You know there is such a thing as love, truth, evil, suffering. You know that it is more than the biochemical reactions in our brain. So if the premise doesn't fit the conclusion, go back and start with a new premise! There can only be good and evil if there is a higher moral doctrine. Even this discussion points to all of us thinking truth is important. If there is no God, truth is not important . We are nothing more than a random collision of atoms destined for the abyss.

read more:


Now we need a fast reminder of the famous book without having to read it again... Thank god for Wikipedia...





Job is an investigation of the problem of divine justice.[30] This problem, known in theology as theodicy, can be rephrased as a question: "Why do the righteous suffer?"[2] The conventional answer in ancient Israel was that God rewards virtue and punishes sin (the principle known as "retributive justice").[31] This assumes a world in which human choices and actions are morally significant, but experience demonstrates that suffering cannot be sensibly understood as a consequence of bad choices and actions, and unmerited suffering requires theological candour.[32]

Blah blah blah...




What is extraordinary for me, an atheist, a rabid atheist to boot, is to notice the impossibility for most people to accept or even contemplate the idea that consciousness, including our spiritual ideals, is a construct of matter itself, in which an assemblage of molecules develops a complex reactivity to an environment in which the molecules can mostly exist. This would seem pre-deterministic of the matter itself but far from it. Beyond a certain amount of complexity in the assemblage of molecules, there is uncertainty of result from the reactivity. 

From this point onwards, this reactivity (chemical reaction in changing environmental factors, including the chemistry of the molecule itself) develops accidental characteristics of adaptation and choice. 

Most plants and animals have these characteristics. Animals make choices. We are animals. Some animals make the wrong choices, we can make the wrong choices. God has nothing to do with anything. God does not exist. 

There is very little "evil" on this planet. One could may be count the number of "evil" people on the fingers of one hand out of 7 billion individuals. But we like to characterise people whose behaviour is contrary to ours as "evil".

For example, the Isis personnel would not see itself as "evil". The "axis-of-evil" was a stupid call made by a stupid president, though not a new name applied to other countries. Germany, Japan were defined as part of the "axis of evil" in WWII. Evil is part of a human invention of god. 

Till now, most of our sets of understanding our choices have been illusionary and based on a delusion. The god delusion and its derivatives that include evil. 

Most of our behaviour has been geared to achieve victory over "evil" to prove that we are good...  We need to move on from these simpleton ideas. 

In fact good and evil is our denatured interpretations of life itself. We have been afraid to accept our animality and our defence against our angst and fear of the unknown has been to give ourselves a value outside the natural set, a value in which divinity gives us our moral guidance, socially and individually. 

Because we have been brainwashed to accept this premise, we find difficult to get out of the illusion, because it's a hard call to accept this "lower" form of natural reality rather than roll in the illusion of god. 

In order to support this illusion of god, we have constructed many edifices dedicated to the maintenance of this illusion, from the moral codes to cathedrals.

The further we go down the road of religious history, the less we become enlightened to reality. We only become possessed by our illusions. 



There is "evil" in all of us. By this I mean that we all have the ability to be psycho-sociopath or socio-psychopaths. This is part of the reactivity of nature (the assemblage of molecules), in which a cat, despite being well fed to the eyeballs, will be fascinated by birds and will HUNT birds. No evil in its quest but an annoying trait emanating from the instinct of cats. Quite annoying if you like birds and find the scattered result of the chase on your lawn. 

Will cats fight each other? Of course they do. Dogs do as well... Humans do as well.

So how do we give ourselves this value outside the natural set, a divine value? In order to do this we invent a new past, away from nature. Unfortunately, science gives the real picture: we're monkeys with a big brain and no hair to speak of (actually, we have as much hair cover as a gorilla but each hair is not as thick, except on some specimens of hairy-chested men). And this has not been the case since the beginning which has been a 3 million years progression from a hairy beast that swung from tree to tree to the specimen working in an office we are now. 

It's simple. It's magnificent. No angels, no evil, no god. We are in charge of our destiny, socially and individually and now we have discovered that we are in charge of the future of this planet because, no matter how we look at, we are changing its surface. Other life-forms have also changed the surface of this planet in past Aeons. Whether we're changing for good or bad is for us to find out now rather than later when it's too late... or will it be too late?


Our grey matter and our cerebellum are the centres of our existence. There is no god, there is no evil... It's time we became humans.

Now we have to redefine moral action in terms of being humans, away from the illusion of god. And this is not as hard as it seems. let's call it humanism... I know it cannot be done everywhere, because too many people are indoctrinated into the belief of good versus evil — and these people won't want to let go because, like a well delivered placebo, the illusion of god give them the power to do great things and crap...

I can assure you that we can achieve even greater things by understanding our animality (natural origin) and our relationship with nature that created us at the end of the long line of change. 

Why do the righteous suffer? Mysterious divine justice? Crap. The way life constructed itself by trial and error, not being conscious of its existence apart from awareness within the reactivity of its molecules in individuals of species, makes every one suffer and die. It's the way molecular development did happen. evolution in reactivity and now in humans because we're so full of grey matter, we have to make stylistic choices. Our first attempts at stylism (in which we define our activity as making "free" decision while being faced with non threatening equivalent choices) were pretty big in the illusive domain. We invented god and that was a nifty solution. But for a few hundred years, this illusion has been wearing thin and we need to come to term with this. 

It's time we became homo sapiens sapiens away from the homo deludedii. 

Looking at the knuckle dragging characters out there, including our leaders, we have a long way to go collectively. But individually we can take the short cut and become an atheist. Welcome. 

Destined to the abyss? probably, if decay is the abyss... We are certainly destined to decay, alive and dead, after a set natural progression and becoming or not part of a social construct. Pain is part of our alarm system that tells us there is something wrong in our construct

But like the rest of things in our relative world, pain can sometimes give us the wrong signals.

Gus third theorem: Absolute cannot change. All the positions are taken. In a relative environment, change is possible because not all the positions are taken. 


And by the way, Belinda, Atheists don't close their doors to "evil". Talking for myself, I do not accept the concept of an entity called "evil"... There is a lot of crack-pots, idiots, mad loonies and indoctrinated people out there whose behaviour is not in line with "civilised" behaviour and do not contribute to my feeling good or pain-free. But this does not constitute evil.... And some of these crackpots can even reach the summit of our leaderships. No names but you know who I mean. 

And I TOTALLY DISAGREE with your claim that on this vast planet we are the only ones bothered by suffering, death, loss... Obviously you have not witnessed some of the life other than humans around you... A bird that has lost his life companion will be distraught. I have seen birds staying by the side of a bird that had been run over by a car and the despair can be sensed. Further more, should one bird be trapped, others will sound the alarm. Should a cat be around, the aussie minah group will go beserk... They know life, with their own style of empathy and of course their own "evil" — the cat. You'll know what I mean, I hope...


Gus Leonisky

Still your local kitchen philosopher...






a con job...

The prologue on earth shows the righteous Job blessed with wealth and sons and daughters. The scene shifts to heaven, where God asks satan (ha-satan, literally "the accuser") for his opinion of Job's piety. Satan answers that Job is pious only because God has blessed him; if God were to take away everything that Job had, then he would surely curse God. God gives satan permission to take Job's wealth and children, but Job praises God: "Naked I came out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return: the Lord has given, and Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." God allows satan to afflict his body with boils. Job sits in ashes; his wife prompts him to "curse God, and die," but Job answers: "Shall we receive good from God and shall not receive evil?"[9]


Question: Why would god, the being who knows everything, bother to have a dialogue with satan about a single human being?

Answer: when the manuscript was written, the science of boils had not been developed. Actually no science, nor the observation of nature through "studies of what is" had been established.

The book of Job was totally irrelevant in eastern cultures and/or Aboriginal cultures for yonks. This is why Susan Neiman places the relevance of this book not on "universal level" but confined her study to Western philosophy... though her general conclusion seems to have lost this exclusion.

Until the "white man" invaded Australia, there were little (none to speak of) so-called sorcery paintings in Aboriginal recall. Soon after the invasion about 226 years ago, the "white man" gave Aboriginal people diseases like small pox and others (possibly boils), the number of sorcery paintings flourished in the Arnhem Land region. Why? These paintings have been associated with fever, hallucination due to such fever and non-scientific explanation thereof. 

Meanwhile the book of job has no relevance in cultures other than those from Abrahamic origin. The Book of Job was one of the first con job, and has no relevance in a world where scientific rigour has overthrown hocus pocus...


Apology: In my soup kitchen philosophy, I tend to avoid big words. It's a malady that I acquired when studying philosophy. Otherwise I could go on and on about the subject of morals, and mention stuff like:

Consequentialism is usually distinguished from deontological ethics (or deontology), in that deontology derives the rightness or wrongness of one's conduct from the character of the behaviour itself rather than the outcomes of the conduct. It is also distinguished from virtue ethics, which focuses on the character of the agent rather than on the nature or consequences of the act (or omission) itself, and pragmatic ethics which treats morality like science: advancing socially over the course of many lifetimes, such that any moral criterion is subject to revision. Consequentialist theories differ in how they define moral goods.

blah blah blah...

I find a lot of this kind of dissertation often spins around the pot and never really reaches for the moment in which we're going to act, possibly out of reasoned falsity because we are never ever in full possession of all the gamut of coordinates for a final decision making. Intuition, animal sense ("experience"/ instincts), illusions and reason (mostly acquired through cultural teaching and osmosis) often combine in various proportion to throw us at the deep end of the pool. At some stage or another we will make a self-profitable decision that will be detrimental to some other poor fellow. Knowingly. 

This is why a lot of people gamble or take punts, at all level of society...


Note: Gus is a philosopher whose expertise is deceit (in humans and in nature), uncertainty, the necessity of the unnecessary and depression

I love the smell of psalm 88 in the morning...


"I love the Psalms, if you look at Psalm 88, that's full of doubt," he told the congregation.

"I go, well I call it running, the dog calls it holding her back, in the morning.

"The other day I was praying over something as I was running and I ended up saying to God 'Look this is all very well but isn't it about time you did something – if you're there' – which is probably not what the Archbishop of Canterbury should say."

But he added: "It is not about feelings, it is about the fact that God is faithful and the extraordinary thing about being a Christian is that God is faithful when we are not."

Asked how to persuade those who do not see religion as relevant in modern world, he admitted that Christians did not have the answers to common questions such as why a good God would permit suffering.

"We turn the tide in a number of ways," he said.

"We know about Jesus, we can't explain all the questions in the world, we can't explain about suffering, we can't explain loads of things but we know about Jesus.

"We can talk about Jesus – I always do that because most of the other questions I can't answer."

Read more:

Jesus! We know about Jesus?... including the miraculous missing bit?...

The Holy Prepuce, or Holy Foreskin (Latin præputium or prepucium) is one of several relics attributed to Jesus, a product of the circumcision of Jesus.

At various points in history, a number of churches in Europe have claimed to possess Jesus' foreskin, sometimes at the same time. Various miraculous powers have been ascribed to it.

read more:


Read article at top


lying to ourselves on a social scale...


I think I’m going to need to read Arthur M. Melzer’s new book, because I admit to being somewhat confused by just why Damon Linker thinks his argument is so important.

Here’s how high Linker rates the stakes:

Melzer has written the most compelling, surprising, and persuasive defense of [Leo] Strauss’s thought that I have ever read. It deserves a wide and appreciative audience. And if it gets one, the consequences could be enormous.

Because if Strauss was right in the way he interpreted the Western philosophical tradition, then much of modern scholarship — and, by extension, our civilization’s understanding of its intellectual and political inheritance — will need to be radically revised.

Why? Because, following Strauss, Melzer argues that the classics of Western philosophy were written “esoterically.” That is to say, they appear to be saying one thing on the surface, but the attentive and truly philosophically-inclined reader will discern a deeper meaning that, on close examination, is profoundly at odds with the surface meaning. And, presumably, we moderns have been reading these classics all wrong because we’ve forgotten how to read this way.

My first puzzlement is to say: really? We have? We no longer prize “indirect, implicit, ambiguous modes of speaking and writing” the way all other societies in history have, and do? William Empson would certainly be surprised to hear it, as would much of the rest of the literary-critical profession. Stanley Fish’s reading of Milton’s Paradise Lost, for example, sounds to me like a textbook example of what Linker, citing Melzer, calls “pedagogical esotericism.” Assuming I’ve understood Fish correctly, his argument is that while on the surface Paradise Lost appears to be a story about the Fall of Man – and in that story, appears to make Satan a surprisingly sympathetic figure (which is how Blake read it) – in fact that very experience, of being surprised by sympathy for the devil as a dramatic character, recapitulates the Fall within the heart of the reader. And, by putting the reader through that experience, the reader will truly come to understand the Fall and how it could have happened in the first place.

read more:

Read also about Leo Strauss at: "The Age of Deceit"

and : Age of deceit- chapter one part one


fictional character?...


Did a man called Jesus of Nazareth walk the earth? Discussions over whether the figure known as the “Historical Jesus” actually existed primarily reflect disagreements among atheists. Believers, who uphold the implausible and more easily-dismissed “Christ of Faith” (the divine Jesus who walked on water), ought not to get involved.

Numerous secular scholars have presented their own versions of the so-called “Historical Jesus” – and most of them are, as biblical scholar J.D. Crossan puts it, “an academic embarrassment.” From Crossan’s view of Jesus as the wise sage, to Robert Eisenman’s Jesus the revolutionary, and Bart Ehrman’s apocalyptic prophet, about the only thing New Testament scholars seem to agree on is Jesus’ historical existence. But can even that be questioned?

The first problem we encounter when trying to discover more about the Historical Jesus is the lack of early sources. The earliest sources only reference the clearly fictional Christ of Faith. These early sources, compiled decades after the alleged events, all stem from Christian authors eager to promote Christianity – which gives us reason to question them. The authors of the Gospels fail to name themselves, describe their qualifications, or show any criticism with their foundational sources – which they also fail to identify. Filled with mythical and non-historical information, and heavily edited over time, the Gospels certainly should not convince critics to trust even the more mundane claims made therein.

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back to the invention of the round peg for square holes...

The rationality of the world: A philosophical reading of the Book of Job

Susan Neiman

Posted Mon 29 Apr 2019, 10:51am

Updated Mon 29 Apr 2019, 10:57am


Err... No...

We've already see the SAME article posted on the ABC some years ago (12 Sep 2014). Read from top. Not kidding. What I wrote about it then IS STILL VALID.