Monday, 9 October 2017

Arguing for God as Utility Monster

A couple of people have objected that the god as utility monster concept relies on the notion that a god would want to maximise the number of saved souls.

Now, this isn't my notion.  It's WLC's notion (for example, when arguing against Stephen Law (see the First Rebuttal).  WLC defends against Stephen Law's version of the Problem of Evil (using the Evil God concept) by saying:

Maybe only in a world suffused with natural and moral evil would the maximum number of people come to freely know God and find eternal life.

That said, it isn't a good idea to rely on WLC to support my argument when it leads to the non-existence of god.  He might find some new evidence that invalidates his position and thus be forced to abandon it.  So, I'd like to independently support the contention that a god would want to maximise the number of saved souls.

Now, I don't mean only that god's happiness would be paramount and suck dry the font of happiness that would otherwise be available to the rest of us - which is true enough, but also that even vague inclinations on the part of an eternal, all-encompassing, all-powerful being like WLC's god would translate into absolutes.

Here are my assumptions:

(1) the god in question is thoroughly good
(2) from (1), anything that the god wants is thoroughly good
(3) the god wants more than one person to be saved (otherwise Adam could have sufficed)
(4) the god wants more than one person of each gender to be saved (otherwise Adam and Eve could have sufficed)
(5) there is no magic number between 1 and infinity, N, that is inherently better than all numbers higher than it, such that N good things are better than N+1 good things
(6) thoroughly good things cannot be saturated (meaning that "good in moderation" is not a term that one could reasonably apply to the god's wishes - if N+1 good things are no longer good, then they are not thoroughly good and a person trying to argue this point would be left trying to determine the value of N and attempting to defeat (5))
(7) therefore, there is no limit to the number of people that "should" be saved and made available to know and freely worship the god posthumously

To defeat this argument (at least in my opinion), the theist would have to:

A. Posit a limitation to the number of saveable souls that her god can create - therefore admitting that god is not omnipotent
B. Posit a value of N and provide a supporting argument as to why N+1 is less good than N
C. Argue that the god can want things that are not thoroughly good - therefore admitting that the god is not omnibenevolent
D. Argue that the god wants something other than saved souls and churning through humans, saving the souls of some and damning others is a mere side-effect that the god doesn't care about - thereby admitting that the god is not omnibenevolent

If there is a watertight argument that defeats this notion of "god as utility monster", then theological zombies do not follow.  But, at the moment, I don't see one that doesn't throw out the notion of the theist’s god in the process (or rely on a blatant appeal to ignorance, as is likely for an attempt to defeat via option B above).

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