the problem of evil


I know for most of you the problem of evil is of little interest or appeal. There are many believers who think it is fatal to atheism and there are atheists who argue, and I agree with them, it is fatal to theism. In the emptiness of the word god after the holocaust, the author  asks

Can one reasonably believe in God–or even define the word God–after the Holocaust?

And I think it is not.

An anonymous commenter on the above post argues atheists have no basis for morality other than personal preferences. There is abundant written material on this already.

Anonymous shared a link which I think to her answers the problem of evil.

First, I think the book of Job of is not arresting because it answers the problem of evil, but precisely because it doesn’t.

Peter Kreeft can’t help lying. He writes

The unbeliever who asks that question is usually feeling resentment toward and rebellion against God, not just lacking evidence for his existence. C. S. Lewis recalls that as an atheist he “did not believe God existed. I was also very angry with him for not existing. I was also angry with him for having created the world.”

No, maybe the believer who asks that question is feeling a resentment. The non believer is asking the believer to prove their claims. C.S Lewis is not the poster girl for atheists. He doesn’t and didn’t represent all atheists. And his beliefs or what he wrote cannot be used as a standard for judging other atheists.

He offers a 4 part solution to the problem;

He argues, first

If God is the Creator of all things and evil is a thing, then God is the Creator of evil, and he is to blame for its existence. No, evil is not a thing but a wrong choice, or the damage done by a wrong choice.

but this doesn’t excuse god, nor solve the problem. God is still culpable because we can say with justice it created beings with the capacity for evil.  Being powerful and all, there is no contradiction in the expectation this god could have created beings with only the capacity for good in varying degrees but never for bad. The first solution fails as an answer to the problem of evil.

Freewill is his second solution. One can check my posts on freewill as a refutation to this claim.

His third solution is to become a christcultist. An all-loving god who could easily have said you forgiven all you assholes kills his son because he loves us! Please, your god is doing a miserly job being all-powerful and all.

In his fourth solution, which he claims answers the philosophical problem, he claims the following

  1. first who is to say we are good?
  2. who says suffering is bad. He has quotes to support this assertion but one could easily respond to his claim that happiness is only possible when we don’t suffer.
  3. god has his reasons for allowing evil and we have no right to demand answers. Might makes right. You there shut up! Really.

Kreeft then tells us god casts no one to hell. Why did god have to make a hell in the first place? Why, with foreknowledge that people would fail its many tests, create hell? Is it even imaginable an all loving and all-powerful being couldn’t redeem everyone?

Every time I read an apologist attempt to answer the problem of evil, I am left very disappointed. In my opinion, most, if not all of them haven’t thought really hard about the problem and if they have, then their thought processes need a little reworking. Or maybe I am blind to their genius.

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

27 thoughts on “the problem of evil

  1. carmen says:

    I think it’s the other way ’round, Mak. THEY are blind to YOUR genius. . 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another fine post, my blind friend. Here’s a quote from it I find aggravating: “atheists have no basis for morality other than personal preferences.” Really? So all the atheists out there who aren’t raping and killing do it merely out of choice and christians refrain from doing these things because of a fear of hell? I’ll stick with the atheists. They’re much safer to be around.

    Like

  3. ladysighs says:

    I looked up the word evil and many definitions had a supernatural reference. And for that reason I am not fond of the word. I would rather think we make choices of how we act on previous experience or the situation that is at hand. Sometimes it is a quick decision like when we give a friend a larger piece of the pie or let them go first in line. Would it be evil to do otherwise? I don’t know. But I think it is the same thought process that we use in more dire situations. We weigh consequences and think about what others have done.

    You always give us something to think about. (And I am usually foolish enough to give my thoughts) 😦 lol

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “might makes right” indeed. many theists arguments end up there.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ubi dubium says:

    I recently read Bart Ehrman’s book, “God’s Problem” where he looks at all the different ways that the bible authors tried to address the “Problem of Evil”. Of course none of the answers those authors gave were really satisfactory, but it’s interesting how many different answers there were. Everything from “we deserve it because we screwed up” to “there’s a conflict between good and evil forces in the world that good will be winning any day now” to “suffering is good for you” to “shut up, that’s why!”

    The theists somehow aren’t ever willing to address the only real answers to the “Problem of Evil” that actually work: Either their god (1) isn’t real, or (2) isn’t actually very powerful. or (3) is an asshole.

    Liked by 2 people

    • basenjibrian says:

      I’ve always thought the “suffering is good for you” argument is amazingly unkind and lacking in empathy. Admittedly, we need to “suffer” in order to strengthen our quads to climb a hill on a bicycle etc. etc. But to take such limited arguments and throw them at a parent whose child has been murdered or lost to a natural disaster…..remind me again how religion makes people kinder?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. shelldigger says:

    Evil lacks a defining definition. One persons evil is another persons jihad. It is a societal construct.

    However I kind of feel like one could say perhaps as with obscene, might know that when they see it. But again it has much to do with culture.

    The problem with evil in religious terms you covered well Mak. Evil that is allowed or even encouraged to flourish, says much about the gods that allow it. It also says much about those who would defend their gods.

    I think we can do without the gods and their necessary defenders. It is a shame they have both managed to attach themselves like a tick, upon society for as long as they have.

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  7. foolsmusings says:

    “Cuz God that’s why.” Seems to be their standard answer. They seem to mistake anger at people who use a mythical beings rules to oppress others, for anger at their god.

    Like

  8. Peter says:

    ‘I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.’ (Isaiah 45:7) KJV

    We know that the King James Version of the Bible was sent to earth straight from heaven (or so I have been told by CS). So there it is, the problem of evil solved. God did it!

    Like

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