Rebecca thinks there is. Before we get to discussing her posts, I don’t make a pretext to have any answers to any questions. All I am interested in dialogue and I don’t promise to be nice to everyone, but I will try. It appears to me that to most theists there are only two positions, either one is a theist[ Christian] mainly or atheist. Which world do these people live in? Is it really that hard to educate oneself on the variety of religious beliefs or are people just lazy?
I could be guilty of logical fallacies of whatever manner and I would hope that sometimes you point them out to me. That said, Rebecca’s starts by saying atheism necessitates a belief in evolution. There is no requirement in a science class to believe anything, all one must needs to do is to understand what the theory or law attempts to explain. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was an atheist who didn’t understand evolution, this is expected. There is no requirement that atheists be a certain class of people. They appear in every segment of society and that explains why some of them are in the army.
That the religious person believes man is distinct from animals doesn’t make it so. Man dies just as a dog sometimes more painfully, they still must fuck just like dogs to reproduce. If there is any difference, it is in degree but never in kind. The argument that we are better than other animals is like calling a fish stupid because it hasn’t learnt to ride a bicycle.
The Christian has been made to believe that man is fallen, in need of salvation from a god who could have created him better but failed to do so. She further believes that this god loved him so much to come and die to save her from himself and sees nothing odd with such a vicarious redemption. Asking a christian parent if they would kill themselves to forgive their children of a wrong or kill their only daughter for the transgressions of their neighbour’s daughter are met with blank stares and they think this is fine if it is done by a god. Is the requirement to believe be that one should forego their ability to reason?
And now we get to Rebecca’s big question. She says
where did evil come from? If life has a common descent, if we’re born with no natural bent toward evil, what injected evil into the equation?
To answer this question, we must agree on what evil is. The Catholic Encyclopedia[read it for a longer explanation] defines it as what ought not to exist. Since the definition of evil is broad, it includes limited intelligence for which every Christian seems to suffer from especially with regard to discussions concerning religion. Whence is the source of all this? Since all the things described as evil are those that are inimical to man, they all have their origin in the subjective experience of man. Evil is man’s idea of the world viewed in a certain way. It is not evil when a park of hyenas chases a pride of lions from their game. It is how life is.
She continues to ask
But society is nothing more than people interacting with one another. So how and why did humans start acting in hateful ways toward people who were different from them? Why did the strong decide to take from the weak instead of using their strength for the greater good?
which before I attempt to answer, I would be interested in knowing the Christian answer to the question. And I hope she doesn’t intend to say that when man ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, evil came to the world. I do hope she has a better answer than that. I don’t know why the strong decided to take from the weak. Our morality is as Nietzsche called a slave morality. A struggle between the noble and the common, the master and the slave. Everything the master does is evil from the eye of the slave. To the master the slave is not fully a person.
As I conclude this piece, as I have said elsewhere, I don’t think it is the task of atheism to account for any question. And as an atheist I can live all my life saying I don’t know and I will be half right all the time. I don’t know of any atheist who blames god for evil as that would include a contradiction. The problem of evil is not a problem for the atheist. It is as anyone with an understanding greater than that of a toddler would know, a problem for theism, especially one who believes in an omnipotent and omnibenevolent being who is also personal.