The problem of evil

You probably have watched the brief interview of Stephen Fry.

His answer seems to have given some theists fodder to enlighten us on the problem of evil. The OP tells us

My point is simply this: evil is a problem for everyone, not just Christians.Whether you like it or not we live in a world where children do get bone cancer, where parasites exists, where ‘evil’ exists. I would therefore suggest the question is not simply ‘how could God let this happen?’, but rather ‘which worldview best answers the question of evil?’

Which is alright. Atheism however isn’t a worldview. I could be wrong, but I don’t think there is anywhere atheism

demands that there be no God, no purpose in the universe – we are simply the result of an accident, some sort of cosmic blip which caused everything that we see.

given atheism is a lack of belief in the existence of god[s]. So how someone gets from that simple meaning to atheism making demands is a logical leap, if ever there was one. It is enough for me to say I don’t how life began and whether or not the universe had a beginning.

This theist seems to me to not have listened to the clip. If he did, he should have been aware that Stephen Fry was asked what he would say were he to find a god. No one that I know of is claiming that diseases aren’t natural. There is no problem of evil in an atheistic universe. The problem of evil, is only a problem in a world ruled by a cosmic overlord whose followers believe that this being is both all-powerful, all-knowing and all loving. I have no problem with this statement of the OP

If atheism is true, then we are exactly the way we are intended to be: evolution just dumped us here, in a place where illness and death exist – the universe has no categories of right or wrong, it just simply is.

for I think it is the case. The universe isn’t intelligent so it doesn’t have the wherewithal to care for right or wrong. These categories are human categories.

The OP conveniently forgets that Fry had been asked what he would do if he found there was a god. It is true atheism cannot and doesn’t account for evil. It is not part of the definition of atheism to explain or account for anything. As I wrote a few days ago, if you are going to evaluate the correctness of a proposition by the questions it can’t answer, then everything will be found as irrational. The theist tells us

Personally I believe that Christianity is the best explanation that we have for the universe as we perceive it, evil and all. Very, very briefly: (1) evil is an alien intrusion into the world, caused by the Fall (see Genesis 3). This explains why we have a higher ideal for the world than the one we actually see – because creation is not as God originally created it. In other words, illness, death etc are not ‘natural’; (2) despite that, God promises that there is a purpose in all suffering – that “all things” work for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28, see also Genesis 50:20 and elsewhere); (3) One day God promises to end all suffering (Revelation 7:17). To my mind that is a far more convincing and comprehensive answer to the problem of evil than anything atheism could provide.

Which to me is further evidence of the ignorance of Christians of the world they live in. Each religion makes a claim about the universe. This particular person, due to his accident of birth, thinks his particular religion answers best the questions we have about the universe. If he read his bible, he would realize there is no where in Genesis where his god intended that man will live forever. In Genesis 3:22, the authors have god say

22 God said, “The Man has become like one of us, capable of knowing everything, ranging from good to evil. What if he now should reach out and take fruit from the Tree-of-Life and eat, and live forever? Never—this cannot happen!

Only a silly person would think death isn’t natural and that eating a fruit, which the said god didn’t have to plant or after planting make known its existence, would be the cause for sickness. Atheism isn’t attempting to provide an answer to evil. It can’t. Only we as humans can answer that problem. God makes no promises. Unknown men, whose motives are unclear to us have made claims that god can do this or that. We have no reason to take them at their word. For all we know, they could as well be charlatans as the current peddlers of religion.

The world is not divided between atheism and Christianity alone. It is a wide world out there. Only a person of limited intelligence would see the world as a divided between on this two stances of belief or non belief.

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Interlude: Kenyans on Twitter

Or more famously known as #KOT.

I always thought and it seems I have been wrong on the cognitive abilities of the twitter users. I expected them to have IQs above that of boiled bananas but I think I have been generous.

I wonder what education does to people or rather more accurately, what type of education they received. Half the discussions end up being tribal and the other half is divided between prayer and ignorance.

You have the ones who think the solution to every conceivable is prayer

or who think the solution to traffic congestion  is to increase fuel prices

and the at the top is a candidate for an asylum who thinks yours truly is a pyscho for asking

In other news, the pope cuddles is opposing competition in the high department. Believing god loves you and is listening to your prayers is enough to keep you high for many days he is opposed to legalizing marijuana.

That there is the end of this public complaint.

In defense of higher education

Not that it needs defending but because I couldn’t think of a better title for this post. Some of you have read the floundering thoughts post which was  a response to a post whose author has pestered yours truly to read in order that I should be enlightened on what am missing.

When I wrote the other day about length of posts, I had such posts in mind. The author could have as well written

the bible is the word of god because the bible says so

and be done with it but she goes yapping endlessly saying almost the same thing. I could respond to that statement with a single word BULLSHIT and stop there and I will still have done the post justice. I will however say a bit more because there are groups of people who think ridicule isn’t a good response to credulity.

She tells us the universe is evidence for a creator. That everything we see around is evidence for the god of the Hebrews. We are expected to believe that the creator of the universe slept for generations and only felt it important to talk to men about his works to a band of herders. This is to expect a lot from us. She tells us because we can’t create shit, we can’t question shit. No wonder charlatans frauds pastors still make so much money. The world is populated by people ready to believe the most silly of things.

A wise man living a few centuries back wrote

We are assured that the wonders of nature are sufficient to a belief in the existence of a God, and to convince us fully of this important truth. But how many persons are there in this world who have the leisure, the capacity, the necessary taste, to contemplate nature and to meditate upon its progress? The majority of men pay no attention to it. A peasant is not at all moved by the beauty of the sun, which he sees every day. The sailor is not surprised by the regular movements of the ocean; he will draw from them
no theological inductions. The phenomena of nature do not prove the existence of a God, except to a few forewarned men, to whom has been shown in advance the finger of God in all the objects whose mechanism could embarrass them. The unprejudiced philosopher sees nothing in the wonders of nature but permanent and invariable law; nothing but the necessary effects of different combinations of diversified substance.

but we should see god. To see a creator. This is asking for too much from our intelligence. Maybe a mad man would find the explanation that malaria points to god, a god who later on you will learn is all loving, all-powerful and all-knowing. They question on whose authority you would question the love of such a fiend. It’s messengers/ parsons want you to buy this crap under the threat of eternal fire. Keep your fires, keep your stakes!

If pride is the father of unbelief, call me proud. But it takes a certain amount of stupid to believe that it is pride that makes a man of common sense ask if donkeys talk or snakes walked and ‘fishes’ were used for transcontinental transport. Please!

If you were to ask a person of common sense why the bible needs defense, especially if it must be believed, they will tell you it is self refuting and not self proving. To see it as anything more than that, you requires religion.

In the superstition of the ages the author says this about theology, what our author here calls the study of divine things

There is a science which has for its object only incomprehensible things. Unlike all others, it occupies itself but with things unseen. Hobbes calls it “the kingdom of darkness.” In this land all obey laws opposed to those which men acknowledge in the world they inhabit. In this marvelous region light is but darkness, evidence becomes doubtful or false, the impossible becomes credible, reason is an unfaithful guide, and common sense changed into delirium. This science is named Theology, and this Theology
is a continual insult to human reason

I digress.

Our author asks

What then is the value of the scholarship which does not trust scripture?

A question which I interpret to mean scholarship should make us all bible believing dimwits. Seriously?

We are told

If a person must rely on the testimony of men to give approval of the scriptures, then that person will always be at the mercy of another mans learning.

This is not God’s way as He demonstrates the power in His word  that men’s faith be not in men.

And I keep saying this is high irony.

The first book of the bible starts

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light……..

and yours truly must ask, is this the testimony of god or of man?

The author then tells us that pilate deserved no answer when he asked what was the meaning of truth. I would imagine a god would want to settle the ignorance of men but not to the staunch believer.

It is strange when one is a believer how everything is the fault of the reader. A person of common sense reads of Lot shagging his daughters and finds this abhorrent, the believer tells you scripture is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. I will be generous here, someone please tell what lesson we get from this story. I will wait.

Towards the end, there is this charge

A person tells you the bible is a fairy tale. He says you are a lunatic if you believe ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.’ He thinks you are insane if you actually believe there was confusing of languages in Babel,  he tells you Abraham never existed, he tells you Sodom was not a real city, and he tells you sin is a fabrication. He then tells you the death of the son of God was a joke. He informs you  that the ‘faith once delivered to the saints’ is a deluded hope. He tells you men of higher learning have found errors with scripture.

He then finishes by informing you there are mistakes in what he calls the book of myths, and pleads with you to answer his endless charges.

Which looks like a legit charge but answerable. I will give an analogy; when watching a movie, you know from the onset it is a tale but at the end you say about some scene they lied. You know where you have a guy in a brown shirt and the same guy in a green shirt but he hasn’t left his desk. There is no contradiction in telling you the bible is a book of fairy tales and then pointing out the portions of the fairy tales that are an exaggeration or badly told. So yes, the bible is a book of fairy tales, some badly told and some so exaggerated but fairy tales all the same. It may say something factual about the human condition but this is to be expected written as it is by men, for men and about men.

I will end this post in the words of Shelley P. Bysshe

The educated man ceases to be superstitious.

Thus spake Zarathustra

You remember a few days ago I said I don’t like long posts, I lied ;-P. I will read a long post if it is on a topic that I enjoy and it is well written. So Kate don’t worry, I will read your 1500 word reviews and dogs posts.

Here is a review of Thus spake Zarathustra, a book by Nietzsche. If you haven’t read the book, maybe you should, if you have, read it a second time.

Here is a snippet of the book, Nietzsche is writing about the death of the gods

With the old Deities hath it long since come to an end: and verily, a good joyful Deity-end had they! They did not “begloom” themselves to death: that do people fabricate! On the contrary, they laughed themselves to deathonce on a time!

That took place when the ungodliest utterance came from a God himself: the utterance: “There is but one God! Thou shalt have no other gods before me!” An old grim-beard of a God, a jealous one, forgot himself in such wise: And all the gods then laughed, and shook upon their thrones, and exclaimed: “Is it not just divinity that there are gods, but no God?” He that hath an ear let him hear.

Indulge me, go read it 😀

War

What would be described as a just war? Has any such war ever been fought?

Was there another way of resolving the dispute without a resort to war?

The Internationale I think goes well with this post