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HANDBOOK OF CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS ON PROBLEM OF EVIL
 
The sixth chapter of the Handbook of Christian Apologetics proposes a solution to the problem of evil.

 

First of all it spells out three different arguments against God from the existence of evil.

 

The first says that any evil refutes a good God which assumes that evil is a thing and God must have evilly made it.

 

The second says that needless evil proves there is no God.

 

The third says that bad things happening to good people refutes God. Atheism affirms all three.
 
The book says that nobody has the right to say there is too much evil. In other words, was a holocaust that saw six million tortured and killed too much or would one that killed six thousand still be too much? Few would argue with me that things don’t have to be as bad as the six million being barbarously tortured and killed and that their reply is callous and shows that belief in God is a curse. Not knowing where to draw the line is not the point. The point is that there is more suffering than there needs to be when most of us will never get the chance to be that evil. Notice too that if you say that God is right to allow things like the Nazi Holocaust with its appalling evil because there is nowhere to draw the line then you are saying that God does not know if it is right to let man be that free and still he does it. This is not the behaviour of a good God. A good God would not take the risk of letting us go that far. We have a right to know why he lets it go that far for it is me or you who could suffer because of it. To say as Christians do that we do not have this right is to say that the thing I am most sure of my own existence and how it is treated (by God and by implication by humankind too) is none of my business and that is fanaticism for I am less sure there is a God and that he can be trusted than I am that I exist. All evil breeds evil so too much evil breeds too much and God cannot allow it. The reply the book gives to the third problem is that it is solved by the mysteries of original sin (the idea that Adam our first father sinned on our behalf in the garden of Eden and so his sin was passed on to us all at conception meaning we were sinners from the first moment we existed – so Adam sinned for us in our place) and the atonement of Jesus meaning that they show that the innocent can vicariously suffer to help the guilty. This is claptrap for X to suffer for Y is simply not fair. It is unfair to offer mysteries that make no sense to solve concrete problems. Those who believe in a good God believe that he does not want to be offered sufferings or sacrifices but just wants all to be happy.
 

Page 127 admits that love the sinner but hate the sin is hypocrisy but says that that is why Jesus had to die for our sins so that we would get the mercy from God and him the justice so that it would be possible for us to love the sinner and hate the sin. So we are to love the sinner and the sin is hated and separated from the sinner and Jesus takes the blame for it and the punishment. Nothing could be more absurd than any of this and even many Catholic theologians would laugh their heads off at the suggestion. If the sin is separated from the sinner then the sinner is not a sinner anymore.
 
What about sinners who haven’t repented and asked for God’s forgiveness? Their sin hasn’t transferred to Christ yet. Are we to hate them? We must.

Then the view of Augustine that evil is not a thing is defended. It says that evil is just a perverted good. But perversion has to be as real as good for good to be perverted. If you see evil as a bad equation like 2+2=3 and all evils are bad equations for they make good add up to less good then you see evil as a real thing for 2+2=4 is as real an equation as the first though it is right and the first wrong. Fear is always an evil thing in itself even when it leads to good for the good is not a part of the fear but a result. Fear is not simply a good thing that has fallen short. There is nothing good in it by itself. The Handbook says that if Augustine could be refuted then the argument that all evil proves there is no God works for it would mean that God did create evil. At least if you say evil is an absence of good then you can say God did not create it but created good only. So if evil is real then there is no God! Hear hear! The reason God cannot make what is evil when evil is not just a falling short and cannot make it even for a good purpose is because it is wholly useless by definition. What is fully evil is fully useless. What is partly evil is partly useless. Evil in so far as it is evil is totally useless. If evil is part of some good it should not be there and is still fully useless.
 
Suffering is a thing. It is total madness to say that suffering is the mere absence of wellbeing. The defence then must deny that suffering is really evil. That to any sane person proves that the defence and the belief in God it requires are themselves evil. If suffering is not evil then nothing is evil and it is as good to be bad as it is to be good!
 
The problem with a good God allowing evil to happen is that evil is by definition that which should not be. If the defence explains how God can let evil happen then it is saying that evil being misplaced good is perfectly acceptable to God. Otherwise there is no point to the argument. So God is evil after all!

The book gives this equation for free will: Heredity + Environment + Free Will = Action (page 137). I am glad it does that because this admits that the three forces together produce the act. So heredity and environment influence the actions we produce. Then why didn’t God make an effort to have stronger influences towards good? Heredity determines or forces certain influences on us so why are there people who hereditarily have bad inclinations? This observation is fatal to belief in God. Free will is presented in this book as a solution to the problem of evil but it isn’t even relevant. It is the evil impulse in us that influences free will that is the problem. The authors deliberately try to deflect us from this and they wave free will in front of us for the purpose of misdirection. Even if we are conditioned by heredity and the environment we grew up in and which shaped us to choose coke instead of orange juice and this conditioning does not determine or fix my choice but I can resist it the problem of bad influences inside us and being allowed to thrive is still there.

Page 138 as good as tells us that drunk people and insane people are not human beings but animals or machines for they have no free will! Nobody should get away with saying things like that in these politically correct times. That is saying that you should not be respected unless you are normal but it is obvious that insane people for example should be treated with dignity.

Page 139 divorces goodness from kindness. Kindness is defined as lovingly wanting to free somebody from pain. It says that goodness is sometimes not to be kind. The idea is that if you have to hurt somebody to help them that is goodness but not kindness. This is shocking logic. Surgeons for example hurt people to free them from pain so it is kindness. All helping of others is kindness. Kindness and goodness are one and the same. Then it says that God is good but not always kind which is why he allows evil to happen. Then it says that if God were kind to us he would deliver us from all pain but that would be worthy of condemnation because it would be the same as kindly parents doing their children’s homework for them. But parents doing that is bad because the children won’t learn to get through life because there is no easy way through life for most. So its not kind. If you had an all-powerful father or mother with magic powers they could spoil you completely for then you will have a smooth journey through life. There would be nothing wrong with that for we only condemn spoiling because life is tough and spoiled children only make it worse for themselves and others. If life were easy and better there would be no difficulty. To say that God lets us stand on our own for our own good is to deny his power.

The next astounding declaration of this Catholic book is that happiness is not feeling happy! It says you can be happy and feel nothing and that happiness is under your control and is permanent. This tells us we have a duty to be detached from feelings like love and hatred for suffering. That is just another trick to make us able and ready and willing to do whatever the Christian leaders want. It is abnormal to be happy when you feel nothing because you know it is better to be have a wonderful feeling of happiness. If you are happy without the feeling there is something wrong with you. Being happy implies having the best and enjoying it for happiness implies being true to your dignity. The book agrees with the latter part for it says that no matter how happy Nero felt when he set fire to Rome he was not happy. Page 141 admits that if we are to be happy in the true sense we have to lose the shallow happiness meaning the happiness we feel. This is an attack on falling in love and entertainment and so on. It says you can feel healthy without being healthy and so you can feel happy without being happy. But this analogy is deceptive. Happiness is in the mind and health is physical and so the analogy fails for you can know if you are happy but not if you are really healthy. You cannot be happy in any shape or form or in the way the book wants you to be happy without believing and seeing and understanding that you are a good person. But with the health thing you don’t know you are unhealthy or at least the way you feel convinces you that you are healthy no matter what the doctors say. No proof at all is given that happiness is not a feeling which is what they are trying to prove which shows they support the traditional Heaven of joyless joy and happiness-free happiness which has nothing to offer except being better than Hell. We all feel something all the time so happiness has to be a feeling. In reality, this philosophy tells us that Christianity does not want to give this arid artificial happiness to people at all just as much as it does not want to give the warm happiness to them for Christianity says we are always sinning in some way so how could you think of yourself as a good person to experience that “happiness” then?

Do we really want happiness without feeling happy? Of course not. We see the greater evil as being “happy” without feeling happy rather than being “unhappy” as Christians call it and having happy feelings and this is logical and right. Let Christianity preach the first kind of happiness if it wants for nobody will follow it then. We see then that the book only teaches that happiness is detachment from all feelings of well-being to convince us that suffering is not a bad thing for we are not meant to be happy as in feeling happy anyway. I wish the Church would be more openly anti-happiness so that it will be seen for the danger it really is but it gets its victims through public relations and deception for they think the Church really wants them to have happy feelings.

If you are unhappy when you are doing something sinful or anti-God and anti-Heaven no matter how happy you feel then it follows that you cannot be happy unless you know there is a life after death in which you will have eternal happiness as understood by the book. So the less sure you are the less happy you are. God wants faith so this means that you will not know for sure and he does not want you to be happy at all. You cannot be happy in any form if you cannot see that happiness for sure and see it as something permanent and if you are told not to trust yourself that you will stay true to God and die in his friendship. You get the picture from considering that when you are blissfully happy the realisation that it will not last pains you and the greater the happiness the worse the pain will be. Buddha gave us this insight and it is right. Anybody that is happy in the sense meant by the book must have something wrong with them or be deceiving themselves. They might be mad or possessed.

So if we cannot truly be happy on earth in that sense then we cannot make others happy and there is no love in the world only emotional artificial love. God could not have made us and gave us free will just for that if the book is right.

One thing is for sure, if you are a believer in an all good God you have to agree that happiness is not a feeling because if it is then goodness is pleasure and God should have made us perfectly happy from the moment we were conceived. He did not so he does not exist. The redefinition of happiness is really the old idea that love is painful and agonising selfless sacrifice under different terminology for it is renouncing for when you turn away from emotional happiness to have sterile happiness that must cause pain for you would rather have the first. Better one minute of elation than two or more minutes of sterile happiness.

Page 142 says that the abuse of free will is to blame for spiritual evil like sin and that God allows it to preserve free will and that spiritual evil is to blame for physical evil and the end of physical evil is to train us and discipline us. Page 143 suggests the possibility that if Adam had hurt himself before the fall he would have hurt physically but not mentally for pain is ninety per cent in the mind anyway which gives them the notion that the saintly soul does not feel as much pain when hurt as does the selfish and greedy and lustful soul. Presumably this means that Adam would know damage had been done but would not be told by pain for pain only came in after he disobeyed God. It might have been something like a message appearing in his head like a message in a computer telling it that a virus has got in. This is the callousness of much theism again. Those who cry out in agony are to blame for their agony. That is what they are saying.

When we could train ourselves by doing difficult good works it follows that any trials that come are just what we deserve because they wouldn’t be as necessary had we disciplined ourselves.
 
Page 142 says that evils that are not caused by free will, physical evils, such as viruses and sickness bugs and diseases and so on, are allowed by God to exist for they provide training for us and is also a just punishment for sin and a deterrence from sin.
 
So a baby then that suffers and dies of meningitis is a tool used by God to train those who love her and care for her for the disease cannot do the baby any good. The answer might be that the training is worth the suffering of the baby and its death. Is it really better for a baby to suffer and die so that some people may be more virtuous? Any parent in that situation would be inhuman for accepting this. Nobody has the right to say that a child should suffer and die on religious grounds. That is putting faith before people whereas religion assuming it should exist should be formulated with a firm eye on human welfare. The doctrine of page 142 is so vile that people believing it is a sufficient argument against the existence of God.
 
It is curious that the book doesn’t mention the Christian idea that even our sins and their bad results are used by God to create a better good (he creates the act of sinning as well for he creates all things so sinners use the free will to sin because of God not in spite of him). Maybe the book sees that if he is doing this then when God is working so hard and the best will still happen leaving it impossible to see anything wrong with sinning. You could beat up a baby intending God to bring good out of it.
 
If suffering is so necessary as the book says, then clearly if we get rid of AIDS God will have to replace it with another disease or perhaps a worse one so why bother trying to get rid of AIDS? They will answer we should fight it for the training. This doctrine takes the virtue of fighting evil away from us. How could it be a virtue to fight disease when it is only going to cause God to send and devise new diseases. It implies that getting rid of AIDS is not what is praiseworthy but trying when we know our trying is of no importance and isn't going to make a real difference. This tells us not to have goals. It suggests our motive should be, “We are getting rid of this disease for it is training for us as good people not because we want to rid the world of disease. Thank goodness there is such a thing as people suffering so that we can do good for them”. If we don't have goals and don't think much of our efforts we will see little point in trying. To fight means you oppose the evil and regardless of training or any good in it you want rid of the evil EVEN IF THAT MEANS AVERTING THE GOOD RESULTS OF THE EVIL. In other words, to oppose suffering is to oppose God.
 
Christianity is an evil religion and like all public evil, it has to be cloaked in respectability. The God belief is at the root of this evil. Without the idea that God turns our evil into good, the world would be a lot less amenable to the God idea. Curiously, the God idea implies that this optimism is sinful. It is assuming we know
 
The religious optimism is dangerous. An optimistic paedophile struggling with an attraction towards a child may be able to resist it because he sees that it could damage the child psychologically for life. His optimism does good and does not mean he feels that everybody else will experience the best out of life. His optimism makes him believe that life will be good for him and not necessarily anybody else. But if he believes in a supernatural God who make the unexpected happen easily concern for the child will not deter him for he believes that it is up to God to do something about the damage. If the damage happens it is God's fault or responsibility. Or it is the child's for not letting God heal. The believers cannot accuse him of the sin of bringing bad consequences on the child but they can only accuse him of leaving a mess for God to fix. You see how inhuman belief in God is.
 
The paedophile can commit the sin of molestation and repent and be right with God again. Jesus sternly warned that those who do not forgive will not be forgiven. So it follows that the victim is the one that is most likely to go to Hell and be damned forever for he or she is always unable to forgive though some may manage it eventually. Jesus didn't care if the struggle to forgive and the guilt about failing to ended up being worse than simply not forgiving. He didn't care if the cure was worse than the problem. It is possible to hate in a way that does your life good. He said one must gouge out one's eye rather than look lustfully at anyone. The Church says he meant that though we must not literally gouge out our roving eye we certainly must go to tremendous effort to prevent ourselves sinning with it. It follows then that the same goes for people who may be sources of temptation. They must dress so dowdily that they would be walking passion killers. An insinuation of Jesus' reasoning is that children are partly to blame for being molested for they don't make themselves ugly and wear bulky hideous clothes. You might say beauty is a gift from God and not to be hidden. Then you contradict yourself if you are a Christian by saying a woman with perfectly beautiful breasts should keep them covered if she can't find a husband.

To digress a bit, the book promises that any sceptic who prays for God to show him or her the truth will have the prayer answered. So if Christianity is true God will reveal it to the person provided the prayer was humble and was not unfairly asking God to do a miracle instead of letting him work on you his own way (page 387). I think the logic is perfect. If there is a God and if Christianity is true then this will happen. But millions have prayed this way and still found both to be untrue. Or they have went into a heretical Church like the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses or the Roman Catholics. It is like an experiment that proves that the religion is a pack of lies and errors. If the sceptic will get an answer by praying then so will the sceptic who does not pray for there will be somebody praying for him and Christians pray for the enlightenment of the whole world. Then the sceptic is being accused of knowing what the truth is and turning away from it. This is slander. But at least it tells you that you know if you do not believe in God or religion and know you are sincere then you know there is no God.

Insult after insult is heaped on the suffering of the world just to keep God’s reputation clean. It is those who profess to be the fans of God who are really being served by this.
 
The Handbook is insulting and shows that attempts to save God from the charge of tyranny don’t work. Those who defend tyrants are tyrants themselves.  

 

They might charm people but that is because they don't have the guts to live up to the inherent evil of their beliefs.
  
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