Recently, Brett and Kate posted an article that put bitter and sweet, heartbreak and joy, and success and failure in the context of contrast. Inevitably this viewpoint was applied to good and evil, and subsequently, God.

I responded to the article thusly:

Many people have trouble dealing with extreme evil, pain, and suffering and therefore cannot fathom an omnipotent and yet loving God. However:

1. We have the knowledge of good and evil.
2. We have the ability to love others, and the need to be loved.
3. We have free will.

Imagine a line that goes from black and white, with shades of gray in between. (If you can't, search for "gray scale")
Now let black represent the most horrible evil you can imagine and white represent absolute good.
Let's say black is too evil, so God decides to get rid of it. Since we know the darkest gray is the most evil thing on the planet, we ask "Why does God allow dark gray?" never knowing that there was a black at all. You can eliminate the darker half of the scale, but that only gives us less options, it doesn't change the fact that know this gray(or action) is more evil than this gray. Even if we remove all but the lightest of grays, that gray will still become the darkest and most evil thing we know, thereby unacceptable, which brings us to the problem of whether or not to have one color or two and you cannot have free will without at least two options. I would not be surprised if there were evils blacker than black that God has seen fit to keep from us already...

...I have more to add, but am out of time for the moment, and will have to come back later.

Any comments? Qualms? Ideas?

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Hey Evan.  Glad to see you chose to break out and explore some of these important and fascinating details that surfaced as a result of the Can't Have Sweet without the Bitter post.  I had to wait for my membership to get approved before I could comment.

I found the theist vs. atheist contrast that emerged very interesting.  There were many interesting comments.  The atheists seemed to be more 'militant' and contemptuous in their comments.  I don't know if that's a result of feeling outnumbered, or just arrogant. I like your philosophical take on the grey scale.  I agree that we can only judge good and bad in respect to what we're aware of as being the best and worst.  I've contemplated that issue of whether or not you can have the good without the bad before.  As one respondent said:  It sounds like what the Christians say heaven will be like.  And there is some truth to that.  But not in the way the character from the Twilight Zone episode experienced it.

I wrote a blog post entitled The Pain Benefit which is similar and explores the idea of how pain provides an opportunity for growth.  We don't like it, but it has a purpose.

That's at http://robdyson.blogspot.com/2011/09/pain-benefit.html .

I will have to think on this.  My sense now is that we think too small:  people might not complain that God is evil if he allowed occasional stomach upset, say -- or maybe we would! -- but He does seem to think bigger that the rest of us.  "Let me have my small life" -- "No, I want you to do more." Growing up is not easy.

I'd recommend green tea for that upset stomach. It's one of God's miracle drugs.

Here's some more info on it.http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/health-benefits-of-green... 

I forgot to mention: drink it without sugar, or even honey. You reap the health benefits by drinking it bitter which is ironic, isn't it, considering the thread topic.

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