the problem of evil


is not a problem for atheists unless one doesn’t understand what the problem is.

So first, as a public service announcement, I will share the problem in brief. More complex formulations of the argument have been made and anyone interested can look at the works of Hume, Platinga, Swinburne, and Rowe among others. But for now, we will refer to Epicurus formulation of the problem, thus

is god willing to prevent evil, but not able? then he is not omnipotent

is he able but not willing? then he is malevolent

is he both willing and able? then whence cometh evil?

is he neither unwilling and not able? then why call him god?

It can be seen immediately that this is a problem for a certain species of gods. These are those gods whose followers claim are omnipotent and omniscient. If one believes in a god without omni properties, then the problem of evil is lessened or even eliminated. It is therefore absurd to claim that the atheist has a problem of evil.

The author of this post, starts by making absurd premises, arguing

so that if creatures are not able to err and so do evil, they cannot act, and so are not actual

and i am going to sit here and wait for an example of evil committed by a sloth. And even before that first paragraph is complete, we are told

Thus if God was going to create anything whatsoever, he had no option in logic but to open the way to error, evil, sin, and death.

which immediately presents a contradiction. There is no logical contradiction involved in the sentence; to create a being that doesn’t err. In fact, the theist undermines their case because they without blinking an eye posit the existence of angels that cannot err and a heaven peopled with beings that can’t err. So which is it?

The apologist’s next step is a strawman. We are told

If there is no God, then there is no such thing as evil

which wasn’t the contention. The question is how can we reconcile the evil that we see with the existence of an all loving and powerful god? If we agree there is no god, as there is no evidence for any, then we are left with evil and a question of how to respond to it. And even from the examples the theist gives thinking he stumped the atheist, it is men and women who have acted to end, or reduce the evil being perpetrated. It is through the action of men that the slave trade ended- at least in theory-; it is through the actions of men that the second world war ended. I am willing to be shown evidence that a god intervened in either of the two examples I have given.

And what I said at the beginning of this post is clearly evident. Here, we have a theist with access to the internet but is afraid to do any thinking. He writes

There can be only “problems.” On atheism, there is no Problem of Evil, because there is no evil. Thus there is nothing whatever to which an atheist might object, on grounds transcendent to or therefore more suasive than those of his own private and nowise privileged preferences.

Which is a strawman. On atheism, there is no problem of evil not because there is no evil, but because an all loving and powerful god doesn’t exist– at least no evidence exists for such a god. So we are left with evil bit no god. And what we do from here is what matters. Do we sit by and watch as pastors feed their flock bleach as treatment for covid or do we as reasonable people stop such atrocities?

Or am i missing something?

About makagutu

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

37 thoughts on “the problem of evil

  1. Man, reading these asinine theistic arguments about how an all-loving, inerrant “god” allows for evil makes the noddles in my head swim. Can anyone say, “narcissistic, self-indulgent word salad”? Mind-boggling gibberish!

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      I get tired of the gibberish. I checked the comments and it’s like his audience haven’t met the problem of evil elsewhere and think he has made such a compelling argument for the cause

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Neil Rickert says:

    Once I came to understand that “omnipotent” is just a bad misspelling of “impotent”, it all started to make sense

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Ubi Dubium says:

    Without a god, then “evil” stops being a noun. I consider it an adjective. It’s not a separate thing that exists, you can’t have a handful of “evil” the way you can in the movie Time Bandits. “Evil” is a description we use for actions, and the bad effects of those actions on humans.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ark says:

    Like the word Sin, Evil seems to be a word the religious thought up.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. renudepride says:

    Opposites attract, right? So the good is attracted to the bad and the bad is attracted to the good. So where does evil fit in? Perhaps exclusively with the believers! Nice job! Naked hugs! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Carmen says:

    I consider ‘evil’ a religious word – I do not use it. There is no such thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. john zande says:

    Baal’s Balls there are some messed up thought processes going on here.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The rivalry of destruction and renewal will continue into eternity, and only fools will claim it not to be.
    Once we have experienced the futility of preservation, we may focus our energies on creating sensibly, while the wise will serve her energies and put her trust into nature.

    Like

  9. Ron says:

    “if creatures are not able to err and so do evil, they cannot act, and so are not actual”

    Ergo a perfect God — i.e. a being that’s incapable of erring or doing evil (according to Christians) — cannot and does not exist.

    Case closed!

    Like

  10. Ann says:

    Let’s look at this from reality. Evil is a human battle and always has been. The evil we fight against is the fight for equality, for fairness, to end hate, to end discrimination and more.

    Like

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