No Problem Of Evil
Atheists often raise the 'problem of evil' as an argument against the existence of God.
The argument typically goes something like this:
'If we grant that the God of the Bible exists, why wouldn't he stop evil from happening? Surely a benevolent God such as he would not allow evil in our world. But there is evil in our world. Therefore, God doesn't exist.'
This is a fallacious argument on multiple levels.
Firstly, it makes a tacit appeal to objective moral values which can only be accounted for because God exists.
But there is a second and even more obvious defeater, as follows...
The Bible indicates that evil is that which opposes God's good and holy character...
'Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.' -Luke 11:23
This encompasses all actions that oppose God's righteousness.
Thus, the atheist's argument is really as follows:
'Hypothetically granting that the Biblical God exists and is good, he should stop all that opposes his good and holy character.'
As an unbeliever arguing against his existence,
the atheist stands opposed to God...
By his own argument, the atheist should be stopped.
He should be silenced from making the argument that a good God would not allow evil.
His choice to oppose God should be altogether denied.
(In fact, an argument could be made that the atheist should cease to exist according to his own plea.)
The fallacy of the argument is demonstrated as follows...
1. The atheist's premise is that if God exists and is good, then he should stop all who oppose his holy character.
2. The atheist opposes God by the very nature of his argument.
3. Therefore, if God exists and is good the atheist should be silenced - according to his own argument.
Now, surely the atheist would strongly object to the notion of being silenced by God!
Surely he would object to being 'robbed' of his freedom of choice!
But in doing so, the atheist commits the fallacy of special pleading by arguing that other evils should be stopped - but that his own opposition to God should be permitted. This is an irrational argument by definition.
The atheist cannot have his cake and eat it too. If he agrees that he ought to be allowed to oppose God 'if' God exists, then the argument that God ought to stop those who oppose him (i.e., stop evil) is self defeating.
If on the other hand he argues that he should not be allowed to oppose God 'if' God exists, then he is arguing against his own freedom of choice in which case we can offer to start making decisions for him - the first decision being that God exists.
Per the law of non contradiction, we can understand that it is logically impossible for God to allow evil by giving mankind the ability to oppose him, while at the very same time not allowing evil to happen (i.e., not allowing mankind to oppose him). Few would argue that God can do what is logically impossible.
Thus, the 'problem' of evil vanishes. The matter is reduced to the question of 'why God allows people to oppose him vs. making a population of robots who have no choice but to do exactly what God desires.' If God had made the latter, he'd not have made human beings. He'd have made something else. God chose to make you and I, and he deserves our praise and worship for that.
Predicted Objection: 'I don't believe that opposing God is evil.'
Response: This is an irrelevant objection. The argument that we've addressed is one made specifically against the Biblical God. The atheist, when waging the problem of evil against the Biblical God, is hypothetically granting that God is as described in the Bible. In the Bible, God states that he is perfectly holy and that to oppose him is evil. Thus, to argue that opposing God is not evil is to argue a straw man (false) version of God. Logically, arguments against a straw man version of God are not arguments against God. They're arguments against something else.
Predicted Objection: 'You've covered moral evil. What about natural disasters, diseases, etc., that cause suffering?'
Response: Nature is amoral; it is neither moral nor immoral in the sense that we cannot derive what we ought to do or how we ought to behave from gravity, for example. But we will cover this topic further in a future article.
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