Who is responsible?
Who is responsible is a major issue in most legal cases. We don’t just want to know what happened but who caused it to happen. Determining responsibility allows us to determine liability.
Consider a man who owns some dogs. Let us even assume he has them in a locked yard where no one can have access to them. One day he looks into the yard and he sees that one of the dogs is ill. He knows his dogs well and he knows the dog in question is very ill. In fact he concludes that the dog is infected with rabies. And his conclusion is the correct one. He looks at the other dogs and believes they are not infected. He fears that they will become so if something isn’t done. So he carefully manipulates the ill dog toward the gate, opens the gate and the dog bolts. He breaths a sign of relief, closes the gate and goes inside to relax.
While he is relax the dog he loosed on the neighborhood goes around attacking numerous people and biting them infecting them as well. Who is responsible for that? In the realm of criminal liability we would say that the dog’s owner was responsible. The dog was contained until he let it loose and he let it lose knowing it was infected with rabies and posed a threat to others.
In fact he would be held responsible even if he wasn’t sure if the dog had rabies. He knew the dog was ill and knew it might be rabies. That would be enough to hold him responsible. The reason he is responsible is that the attacks that took place are something that one could reasonable know in advance.
If you are aware that an action you might take will cause pain and suffering to others and you take it then it is as if you simply choose to inflict the pain and suffering on the others yourself. There pain was the direct, knowable consequence of your actions.
It is not just that the attacker was a dog that determines responsibility. If a man comes to you and says he plans to kill someone and asks for a gun and you give it to him then you are co-conspirator in that crime. He told you he was going to do it and you believed him. You are responsible.
Now let us take this into the theological realm, and yes, this is a continuation of the previous post.
We are told that God created everything and knows everything. He knew the nature of Satan when he created him. In fact he created him with that precise nature. He knew what Satan would do. (I am assuming the nonsensical claims of the Christians here for a moment so be patient.) He not only knew that Satan was rabid, so to speak, but he knew exactly who would be bitten and when. And then he opened the gates and let the dog lose.
Who is responsible? The God-addicts will tell us that Satan is responsible. But God enabled Satan. He created him with full knowledge of the future. There was nothing that Satan did not do which God did no know in advance. So why blame the Devil? He was doing that which he destined to do by his creator. He wasn’t just locked up and let loose. He was non-existent and God called him into existence. And God did so with no doubts about the results.
God truly is the author of evil. God can not be the creator of the universe without creating all that is within the universe. If God created everything and if evil exists then God created evil. If God created evil knowing it was evil then God be all good?
Of course this is only a problem if you believe the fairy tale about gods and demons.