Creator Ethics towards its Creation

Let’s say that I have the ability to create life, even sentient life. Would it then be ethical for me to torture and kill that life? Would the amount of power I have change that ethic?

(Obviously I don’t think that god or Satan exists, this is just for a thought experiment.)

One of my big problems with the Abrahamic religions in particular, is the barbarity of god towards his own creation. This god can torture something for an infinite time period or kill it and god is somehow still seen as good. The devil is known for killing, stealing and destroying and he is defined as bad. However, when god literally kills and destroys everything on earth with a flood, he is seen as a good entity. This god could be the main villain in a Avengers movie.

I would argue if that if I could create life, and then I torture my creation I am no better than a person who would torture animals. The same can be said for the Abrahamic god. In the garden of Eden, god put a tree in there that it knew man would eat from, and then pushed not only them, but all future generations by making their lives hard as well as eternal torture if they didn’t follow this gods bizarre rules. If I had a steak out on my counter that I knew my dog would go eat, would it be ethical for me to throw the dog outside forever alongside its puppies, and its puppies puppies and beat the ones forever that don’t obey me? This just sounds like profound silliness from an ancient, sadistic mind.

I would also argue that if I were to be infinitely powerful, that would not change this ethic at all. Let’s say that Satan took gods place somehow and was infinitely powerful, would it then be okay for him to kill people?

What are your thoughts on this subject? Are there any interesting nuances to the argument?

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I have heard the argument from theists that since god created something, it is god’s prerogative to destroy it. And there are many similar teachings in the bible. Stone your children to death if they are unruly. Abraham was close to sacrifice his son until god told him he was being pranked. As in the example of slaves, the owndership of another person is a predominant theme running through out the old testament.

Even today, the attitude of some theists is that they believe they have the right to control other people. Gay rights, abortion.

Personally, I consider all of that position as extremely immoral. A human being is no one’s property.


Compare the kill counts for god and Satan in the Old Testament. God makes Rambo look like an amateur. In addition to killing almost everyone in the world with the flood, he also nukes Sodom and Gommorah, sends lethal plagues into Egypt, and unleashes Samson as a super-strong serial killer.

Satan kills a couple of dozen people: the children and servants of Job. And he only does that because god allows him to as part of a childish bet between them.

God is the model for Adolf Hitler and Idi Ami. He’s a racist, sadistic, genocidal monster. He’s guilty of crimes against humanity. His only redeeming feature is non-existence.



Read this is out loud to my 15 yr old and his response right off the bat was … “this guy obviously has never played SIMS (lol) - I can be a sadistic shit!”

There is a difference. Is the life in a petri dish? There was an episode years back on “the Outer Limits” (I think the guy found the life, studied it, and it was sentient - little worm thingys)

Kids are taught (for the most part) not to kill bugs for pleasure (stamping on ants and pulling wings off of flies) and empathy- to expand and nourish this human quality. Some are born with more or less of this social instinct.

Now, I know I’m referencing humans to bugs but, it’s by far one of the closest imaginative “power relationship” I can come up with to put in perspective the “gap” between the idea of Abrahamic God/s and human/animals.

I had an ant colony plant itself in my garden, on the edge, and I, without hesitation, took a hose and tools and wiped them out.

I think higher thoughts than an ant, live longer,
can travel much further distances with greater speed - I can “fly and live underwater and read/write, etc” FAR beyond an ant :ant: will ever be capable of.

I didn’t create the ant, but I don’t give a shit about “it” (unless it’s like my job).

This relationship extends between animals on earth and us humans with them as well (I care for a dog, kill a coyote)…

What about adults that birth kids - “create” them so to speak, of the same species? Not all children get a fair, caring upbringing.

Oh, and since the earth doesn’t belong to us, or say your idea of what you’d use to “host” your created life, can YOU the property “owner” evict the tenants is they are not caring for it?

What about science? Or the “meat” industry or fishing … define your idea of “torture”.

I will point out, that I have never once given ants “moral” guidance.

Perhaps, this is the ethical dilemma- the idea of “do what I say, not as I do” from a higher being? OR clarify it’s only the BIBLE god of which you speak because humans do exactly as the bible god does (IMO)


For this particular argument, I would say that if something does not have the capacity to feel pain, it can’t be tortured. Our existence requires us to destroy plant life at the very least to survive. For this discussion, this is torture is for punishment instead of some form of survival. However, there is no reason not include torture as in killing for survival. Sometimes it is interesting to see where the discussion takes you.

This is definitely a broader ethical subject that has interesting implications. What about AI in the future? When do we determine that something is sentient? What rights should something have based on which characteristics? It would be interesting if humans in the future have some kind of ethical tiered system they classify life with and what rights it gets them.


We know nothing about a god, truthfully. Assuming his existence is one thing, assuming his motives, is another. We think as we do, based on progression of evolutionary pressures, we may no longer be a splitting image of him, or may even never have been created in his image. He could have an understanding of reality, not based on morality. Cripes, he could have been a human traveling back in time for all we know. We just don’t know…nobody does.

However, we do know that the texts of abrahamic religions were written by regular humans, and the mythical portrayals of events are defined by human minds, of a particular epoch in time. If by god, the text would be written to reach all humanity, in all times…its not.

Just my two cents.

Too messy - why not just something like, “deriving pleasure from the pain inflicted on others” (doesn’t work either) went to google and:

Torture (from Latin tortus: to twist, to torment) is the act of deliberately inflicting severe physical or psychological suffering on someone by another as a punishment or in order to fulfill some desire of the torturer or force some action from the victim.

I like this one -

I like this one - a) it’s something we as a species are working on… and b) my imagination can go “there” instead of (comparison of god above man and human above ant comparison)

PLUS we can we “torture” a machine???

Yes! That one work works.

Assuming we are talking about AI on a server as opposed to some kind of body we could possibly build with some sort of feeling. If you locked me in a room with Elmo playing on a 24/7 loop, I would consider that torture. For a machine you could force it’s inputs to something, or worse, disconnect them all together. I think a mind intentionally cut off from the outside world could be construed as a form of torture.

So…if this continues, I assume intelligence is being created.

What about “desire”? Should AI have this particular “quality” [so sorry :neutral_face: intelligent computer programmers who will be sighing and eye rolling and laughing]…

A sex “bot” should he/she feel, respond and desire? Obvious useful product for humans.

Black mirror episode covered this when we could “download a copy” of our own consciousness to meet our needs.

We know we have “consciousness” (hahahahaha) however how to determine a “created one”. We could relate but doesn’t mean “an awareness” is existing in the “cut off” world.

Hey - did you watch any Black Mirror episodes on Netflix? If not I have an advantage :star_struck:

I do some, but IMO they are not as good the old twilight zone or outer limits. One Scifi book series I really liked in a similar vein to that episode is:

Good. Okay - sex bots - assume intelligence and “awareness”. Do they get “desire”?

Not sure. If you wanted it to be a good sex bot, I guess you would program it to want the desires of it’s owner. I wonder if desire is somehow coupled with being sentient. You know you exist, and some things bring you pleasure so you seek them out. Is that desire?

If the human race doesn’t destroy itself in the near future, I’m sure in a few hundred years we may have mappings of the human brain and understand how such metaphysical things work on a physical level. Once we understand it, and at that point when computers are much faster, we may be able to program it.

If it “sentient” conscious- is it like our form or an animal or “different”. Desire may determine it. And if different, how do we measure it’s consciousness? We can understand a psychopath does not have empathy but is still conscious- but they do have desire. (Or need?) do we have examples of people without desire?

Ethical by whose standards? Theists claim moral absolutes, I don’t.

Imo, the creations of any god have no rights of expectations from their creator.

Again it’s Christian believers and others who claim a personal knowledge of and relationship with a creator god to whom they have ascribed absolute attributes.

The stories of every god worshipped have been invented by their worshippers. They are myth. They say much about the people who invent them .

The YHWH invented by the Jews was a nasty fucker; petty, jealous, vindictive, cruel and genocidal, to name just a few of his sterling qualities.

YHWH did some disgusting things; EG : Drowned the whole world, was cruel to Job and to Abraham and of course activities during the Exodus of mass slaughter of the Canaanites, to mention a few. . That YHWH reflected the harsh life of the Israelites; nomadic bronze age tribes. Yet today, believers do not criticise the creator for his vile behaviour. This says much about the fluid morality of believers imo.

What moral god demands blood sacrifice? (The death of Jesus) Yet that is a common feature of a great many religions before and after Christianity.

A creator can do what ever he feels like. Questions of his morality are irrelevant.


Never mind - answered

Agreed, there are no absolute morals. I guess we’re talking more personal or legislated morality. Would you agree that some ethical systems are better than others? None of these are “true” or universal and better itself is a loaded term. What would you consider to be better in an ethical sense? This can easily fork into an altruism discussion. Obviously ethics towards something that doesn’t exist are not relevant, but still interesting to discuss. Would we as a society want others who could create sentient life to be able to torture and murder it?

Yes, the Bible took a lot from ancient Mesopotamian culture, including the flood story, the idea of a god existing in a temple and somewhere else, the way priests more or less worked, and much more…


Also found in ancient China, and of course within Inca, Maya and Aztec cultures. They offered human sacrifice on an epic scale, and often offered their own blood, often by a wound to the penis.

Blood sacrifice in Judaism was required at the time of Jesus as part of temple worship, at least***. A token blood sacrifice remains in Judaism today in the form of circumcision.

Ancient China had the practice of killing /burying alive slaves to accompany an exulted person in the grave.

Ancient Polynesian people would bury slaves/concubines alive under the posts of new buildings.

Human sacrifice was an important aspect of Norse culture well into the Christian era.

***That practice puts another side to Jesus allegedly doing his chewy in the temple in Jerusalem and chucking out the money changers. The sacrifice of animals was required. Pilgrims usually bought their sacrificial animals. BUT money showing human or animals was not acceptable . So they changed say their sesterces into shekels. Money changes were a vital part of temple life and religious practice… Plus the temple complex covered acres and included a huge market.—not on sacred ground.

The anecdote of Jesus attacking the money lenders in the temple is another example which strongly suggests the gospels were not written by Jews. In real life,the temple guards would have grabbed Jesus and turfed him out. Probably giving him a few smacks with their staves on the way .

Jesus allegedly happened upon a woman about to be stoned for adultery. She was guilty, the punishment prescribed under Mosaic law. Had Jesus tried to interfere he would almost certainly have joined her for blasphemy. Imo, the incident is one of the more blatant examples of myth in the gospels.


The ‘woman taken in adultery’ aka Pericope Adulterae from Gospel of John 7:53–8:11 also has a history of being made up and an early interpolation.

From Wikipedia “The pericope is not found in most of the early Greek Gospel manuscripts. It is not in Papyrus 66 or in Papyrus 75, both of which have been assigned to the late 100s or early 200s, nor in two important manuscripts produced in the early/mid 300s, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus. The first surviving Greek manuscript to contain the pericope is the Latin/Greek diglot Code Bezae, produced in the 400s to 500s…Codex Bezae is also the earliest surviving Latin manuscript to contain it.”

400AD would put Code Bezae just around the time of Eusibius who is closely associated with the interpolations in Josephus’s Antiquity of the Jews. Just saying.