In my worldview, a choice is redefined as a reaction where you are not forced by anything obvious.  But as in freely being able to choose a or b it is not real.  Yes you don't feel forced that is true but we are saying that if you go for x and the clock could be turned back you will go for it again.  Free will is saying you can choose y or z or anything.  My whole system is unable to allow me to do anything different.  This is not as obvious as somebody forcing you to do something.  How obvious it is has nothing to do with it being free or otherwise.  We do know that even if choice is real, we find it hard to know if we are really choosing or reacting.  Feeling is no guide.  Reacting can feel free too.  You feel free when you kick the car that won't start. 

For this study, we will ignore the question if choice is real or not. 

Intention is only an excuse for doing harm if you really have no choice and have tried hard to find more choices. Most of us use the "I had a good intention" excuse to get called good though what we do causes grave harm.  Only the intender can know the truth even though she or he often does not.

We must be careful to be fair when assessing an intention by another.  Yet we are pressured to put the best interpretation or spin on what anybody does and ignore any signs of recklessness.  We know people will say there is evil in us if we fail to give others the benefit of the doubt.  They say we want to see in others the evil that is actually in us.  This can have a subtle bullying effect.

There is a debate is about whether intentions are as good as we are told. Only the evidence can tell you how to evaluate an intention.  You cannot read the mind of another.  Often you cannot read or clearly see your own intentions.  Assuming their intention is good means you are suggesting it may be bad but you decide to forget that.  So there is a judgement there at the back of your mind.

So there is no direct evidence.  You have to embrace indirect evidence.  Also, this will be based on how you see that the number of people seeming to be genuine inside is statistically significant.

There is a bottom line.  It is that no matter how awful it is if people trust nobody, the bad results of not trusting do not prove them wrong to be so suspicious.  This suggests you have no right to manipulate, pressure or bully anybody to trust others as much as you do.

People will take advantage then based on how their motives cannot be seen by others.  Plus good intentions go wrong anyway but you never know if the person meant more of that harm than they say.

We all know this.  Arguing that God does his good in the people he made and so we should assume their intentions are good is going to get us to put down our guard too much.

Here are the problems with giving everybody the benefit of the doubt.

First what if the intention is bad, or as bad as it is good, and you are glorifying it or accepting it?

Second if the intention is good it is only subjectively good.  That says nothing about how it may harm.  A devil might want you to have good intentions for his plan to work.  The road to hell really is paved with well-meaning efforts.

Third it is up to the evidence to show what kind of intention may be present and sadly only indirect evidence tells you what you should believe is there. We should be extremely cautious when something cannot offer straightforward evidence.  Indirect evidence is okay but the danger is it may be interpreted wrongly.

Fourth you are seeing the intention as good for you want the praise that comes from people who think that you are too good to see the bad in anyone.

Fifth it is downright terrible if what the supposedly good intention is doing is costing innocent people a lot of suffering.  That covers God's intention too.  If God is hurting people, for he does not care or is spiteful, then we need to know and more importantly they need to know.

Sixth, you do not want to encourage or be a part of the universal human weakness which sees good intention where there is no intention, a bad intention or an indifferent one.  If you make that mistake you become part of the reason why people disguise bad or semi-good intentions as good ones.

Seventh, free will if real may be still inactive or as good as.  Eyesight when your lids are glued shut permanently is real but as good as inactive.  So sensing you can see though all you have is blackness remains a valid experience.  If this is all you know you will feel there is something free about seeing only blackness.  The feeling is subjective and is lying to you.  When the sense of freedom which is so basic can be lying to you, how much easier is it for you to see your good intentions as good even if they are not?  To put it simply, freedom is a problem as regards perception so how do you know you are free to have a proper good intention?  We are more focused on the good intentions of others rather than ourselves.  I do not live and cannot live as an island.  So it is alarming that if I question my own good intentions, I know even less about those of others.

Eighth, you want to believe your intention is good or better than an alternative. Why?  For it self-rewards.  You get a glow.  You feel something moving inside reaching for the self-reward. Which is why your intention is still very much about you even if no glow comes for some reason.  In many this glow fix progresses until eventually they don't care what harm they do with "good" intentions as long as they feel and/or think they meant well enough.  Altruism is a myth propagated by Jesus and Kant and others.  Another glow appears too.  You want your intention to be good or great even if is bad or just okay and mediocre.  Why?  Because you don't want to feel that others rarely have good intentions for you.  That is too scary and threatens your need for relationships and safety.  All that tells us good intentions are less good than you want to think and are arsenic for they get weaker over time.

Ninth, we assume our free will, that we think we have, is a great thing and that God is right to keep out of it if we decide to do grave harm.  We think that good will rise out of the evil we do.  That is the real reason why we think it is so amazing and we feel that even when we are bad in time it will be known that are are not that bad.

Tenth, our good intentions are put into a manufactured framework where we over-simplify a lot.  Every action is a ripple in the pond.  We will never see all the results or identify them.  Our real intention is to do something and hope that it is good. 

Objection: Saying that everything is very complex risks us arguing that the evil we see or think we see is part of a bigger picture and one that is for the best.  The answer is that we know from evidence that few things really are that complex.  The argument from complexity applies usually to the leaders of a country which makes it very worrying indeed.  They use it as an excuse to wage war with huge loss of life.

The answer is that just because you fear the results does not make the argument wrong.  And we do know everything fits into something very complex.  The objection insults us by trying to get us to deny what we know.

We have seen that there are many actual and potential dangers with our philosophy of life with regard to good intentions.

God belief cannot help for it cannot do away with those dangers.  If it tries to, it makes things worse.

If we are made like God and God is like us then faith in God somehow represents what we think of people. By extension this is about what we think of their intentions.  If there are dangers with affirming good intentions where they may not exist it is one thing to affirm when you want to avoid making things worse but worse to use God to reinforce that.  Having say to euthanise on the battlefield is terrible.  But there is something unnecessary and twisted about wanting to bring a God into it and say it is his holy will.  It does not need any more validation. It is like you want to validate it when in fact you should wish you didn't have to.  It is also like you are not that sure so you need God as a crutch.  At least you admit that God and non-violence don't go together!

What if you know (not think or believe) that the person is the kind of person/God who might look as if they are doing evil when they are trying to do good? The problem with thinking or believing is that you are taking a risk over opinion -  a risk that could be as good as approving of the harm done to others.

People value your good intentions more than anything.  We need to feel others care even if that care is a disaster.  We care more that others care than about the care going wrong.  This matters more to us than a God would.

The argument that, "You can consider holding that somebody's intentions are probably good if they personally indicate to you that they are trying to achieve some good and you see evidence. It is not your job to decide what they intend so they have to tell you and tell you why.  They have to let the evidence speak" is useless with regard to God unless you have a direct line to him.

It is thought, "If imputing good intentions to others encourages you to do good better for you believe you are part of their plan for good then fine."  But you have to be sure the intentions are good if that collaboration is to happen.

How does this apply to God?   It is actually worse because:

Faith by default is really about evil and that it will be overcome.  Faith then is not about goodness.  Doctors are about the evil of pain and suffering - it is all negative and sterile.  Faith is aggressive in a sense. 

The believer cannot know that God might be intending good.

The believer that seems to think she does know.

The person who simply decides that the God or other person intends good when there is so much harm allowed and done is condoning. It is better to admit that the other person is bad and that you do not care than to make things worse by trying to paint evil as good or okay.

Condoning evil means you regard a clearly bad deed as well-intentioned and thus you as good as reward it.
it is biased to try to justify and bias never exists in a bubble but diffuses into lots of things and soon the whole apple barrel is corrupted.


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