First, I must say, mods, if you feel this topic will get out of hand, or somehow escalate to something much worse than its intentions, please lock/delete this thread. (I don't think it will, but I want to make sure its okay.)
(My point being. I don't want this to become a religious debate. I don't think it will, though.)
This is a note I wrote on Facebook about my thoughts on the idea of "omnibenevolence" in its most commonly used meaning as well as its actual definition.
The idea of omnibenevolence is really getting to me right now...
Omnibenevolence as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary means "unlimited or infinite benevolence". Benevolence being a "desire to do good to others" (according to dictionary.com in its simplest form.), but also noted as "an act of kindness; a charitable gift", and "a forced contribution to the sovereign". (That third definition is quite interesting, but we won't get into that right now.) In other words, Omnibenevolence is an "unlimited amount of desire to do good to others", or put more simply "an infinite desire to do good".
But this brings about questions. (Which I will separate into 2 groups: General Questions and Religious Questions)General Questions:
1.Can omnibenevolence exist?
-The Buddha comes to mind. Siddhartha spent his life learning and teaching what he believed to be good. "Enlightenment". Enlightenment was the "end of suffering". Something the Buddha was said to have discovered. Would the end of suffering bring about unlimited good or unlimited desire to do good? Its tempting to think yes. But I think we have to say "no. Not necessarily". Why? Because who can define what is good? The concept of good differs from person to person, so if omnibenevolence did exist, there would have to be some aspects of "good" that everyone agreed on. And then a person (or being) would have to meet those criteria. If not everyone agreed that it was good, they could not be omnibenevolent to that person. So it seems omnibenevolence is subjective (its meaning and magnitude differs from person to person. Unless everyone can agree on one set of things that are good. And I don't believe everyone can agree on what is good, or agree on what some things are good.)
2.Is there a purpose for omnibenevolence?
-Why would we want to believe in the idea of omnibenevolence? Or, why would be want to be omnibenevolent?
This is really subjective to each individual person, really. I mean, would doing the right thing always be the best thing? I can't say for sure, but I don't think it always would be. Here's an example: Your boss wants you to do something one way and you know that doing it a different way would be more efficient and would benefit the company more. What is good in this situation? Obeying your boss or disobeying your boss? I don't think either is better, but again, it all comes down to the different views on what is good for each individual person. Religious Questions:
1.Is God Omnibenevolent? (this is going to be mostly in the direction of Christianity.)
I think Euthyphro dilemma
comes into play here, but in a different way:
Is what god does/say good because he is god, or because it is good? If it is good because god does it, then is it only good for god? (for instance, God murders, but he commands humans not to murder) If so, the definition of omnibenevolence would have to be changed. What is good for god is different from what is good for humans. This would have to be the case, because humans disagree about what is good. But if what god does/says is good because he does/says only good, how can there be debate about what is and what isn't good? (How could he create an opposition to what he determined was good? How could he create something that was not good, if he can only do/say good?) If he can't only do and say good, then how can he be omnibenevolent. [EDIT: I originally wrote "Omnipotent" here, at the end. I don't know if I intended to, but I think I meant to say "Omnibenevolent".]
(I could go on and on about this, and loop back and forth, but I want to know what you guys think.)My conclusion
Omnibenevolence can't exist. If it did, there would have to be a universal understanding
of what is and what is not good, and there isn't.
I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the subject! Please comment!
One other thought:
"benevolence" meaning the desire to do good. I'm just wondering. Even if you had an unlimited desire. Would that then mean that you would always do good? I don't think so. If this is the case, I think its possible for a lot of people in the world to be omnibenevolent. But if this is the case, omnibenevolence wouldn't be a supernatural thing at all. [(Which would mean that omnibenevolence would not be a divine characteristic of god)]
Also, an interesting video. Theramintrees has an amazing ability to express an argument. Check it out.
I also think if anyone can explain the contradictions behind omnibenevolence (and many other subjects. Its him.)