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WHY THE EVIL THAT IS DOWN TO PURELY NATURAL CAUSES MAKES GOD'S LOVE A RIDICULOUS AND EVEN CRUEL THING TO BELIEVE IN

Religion says God is pure harmlessness and love.  That does not fit how he has set up plagues and earthquakes and natural evils that cannot be blamed on human free will.  A human person will worry more about somebody having cancer than them having a vice such as gambling.  To worry more about such moral evils is itself a moral evil.

 

IN DEPTH EXAMINATION

Possibility: Natural evil, that is non-moral evil, is really evil and proves there is no God. It cannot be blamed on free will. It just happens and has nothing to do with what people do. The free will defence does not explain natural evil at all.  And it is so serious that it needs good explaining.

The Christians have replies to the thesis that natural evil is proof that God is nonsense.  You may call it strong evidence but be aware that people who don't like it being proof water it down by calling it strong evidence or even just evidence.

Christian reply: We allow that natural evil might disprove God.  But to say natural evil possibly refutes God is to admit it possibly might not.

Answer: Natural evil should be stated to definitely disprove God. It is not a matter of possibility. And a faith based on possibility is a thin faith. It is really guesswork not faith.  Guesswork is making religion about you when it is not about you.  It is idolatrous and leads to religious hypocrisy.

 

Those who believe the Christians tend to forget that natural evil is more than diseases and death and earthquakes and includes our human weakness.  It is natural weakness. 

 

Do not forget either that all religions recognise you can hate people against your will and they deny this is a sin as long as you keep trying to overcome it.  No religion has the right to claim that it opposes hate for that is a lie.  It has an exception.   Hate in that case would be seen as a natural evil.  The lie itself gives it no right to be taken seriously when it bans violence and helps explain why religionists who wish to turn violent feel happy to do it in the name of their faith.

 

If the Christians are right that proving God endorses a moral evil would show he is unworthy of being acknowledged as God then surely a God who programmes you to hate though it is not your fault is equally vile.  It would be insane to reject God if you could prove he told a boy to cheat in his homework and to love him if he programmes people to hate against their will!!  It makes you morally evil for preferring the latter to the sin of cheating.   The doctrine of natural evil fitting the love of almighty God is itself morally evil implicitly and often explicitly!!

Christian reply: Natural evil, or much of it, is done by evil and violence loving spirits such as Satan.  The Bible says so (Job 1:16, 19; 2:7; Mark 9:20; Luke 13:10-16; Matthew 17:14-15).

Objection: That gives Satan and his minions godlike powers but there is only one God of love. It is a fearful doctrine.  The pagans believed the gods were beings who may be governed by a monarch god but they had power to change nature magically or supernaturally.  The Christian doctrine is polytheistic.  The doctrine is not so good if it leads to too many people flirting with those demons and doing evil to make bargains with them.
 
Christian reply: Let us remember the most important thing that if natural evil hurts you and kills your loved ones that God grieves with you.

Reply: But we are vulnerable not God. It cannot be the same for God. You are the one that feels there is no hope and how can you have rapport with a God who stands for hope and who infers that there is something wrong with you for not being able to hope?  If you feel God suffers and grieves with you it will fade away with the cold light of day.  God cannot really grieve if you lose a loved one in a volcanic eruption when he has saved that person by taking her to the afterlife to enjoy a lovely and eternal existence.

 

Suffering people may often attend Church a bit but there is not the same demand on Church and worship and on clergy as there would be on therapists.  That says something.  It is more like they seek help from the Church but it is only their trying to complement the real help they get. 

 

I think it is fair to say that this objection is the most important one.  It tries to tackle the core problem: that saying God does natural evil seems to make him unloving.

 

Christian reply: Natural evil is an opportunity for us to be better and bigger than it. It is only tolerated by God because it helps us to mature spiritually.

Reply: This one is far from humble and respectful of nature.  You will never be stronger than natural evil. 

 

It assumes that God permits natural evil to happen but hates it. But there is more than just letting it happen going on. The word permit or tolerate doesn't make sense for it is God who is almighty we are talking about! If God makes nature it has no say in what it does but he does.

 

Do not forget that to say it is okay for it is just a contradiction and as long as people don't start praising evil for God does it who cares?  But a contradiction is never a solution.  It is nothing.

Christian reply: Natural evils are not really evils for if the dinosaurs had not been killed in some natural disaster we might not be here.

Reply: Then why not rejoice when a lion dismembers a child? Or why not just not care one way or the other? If it is not evil then it is good or it does not matter what it is. The reply is stolen by the Christians it would seem. It seems atheistic to use that reply. It does not fit the notion of a loving supernatural God.

 

Belief in God is believed to be such a great good that if you had a gun to your head and had to choose one of these beliefs, "I must be happy with the dismembering of babies by lions rather than condemn God for being responsible" or "I hate the dismembering of babies even if it means hating God."  One loves God for his involvement and the other is open to hating him - though it does not actually hate.  It is obvious what nature itself would "want" you to choose.  It is obvious that to be human you must be willing to be sickened by the babies suffering even if it means hating God.

 

William Lane Craig suggests that plate tectonics do good for us though they can risk earthquakes and earthquakes do happen. He said God just simply had to create a world with them and it is not God's fault.  That is actually a denial that God is all powerful for a God that has to set up such a system contradicts the doctrine that God is almighty and thus does not have to do things any particular way. Thus Craig sees earthquakes as by products of a good thing. So clearly suffering and death are by products of earthquakes as well. Why not say that death is the by product of the suffering?  Why not say death and murder are good things?  Why not diminish their intolerability by saying they are just by products?

 

Another excuse is that evil is required by God to give us material benefits. For example, he causes earthquakes in order to persuade us to move away from high-risk areas or to go to wealthy nations that have the equipment to tell you an earthquake will not happen. But who made the faults in the earth’s crust? Who made the viruses that so cruelly kill us? He could have given us the material benefits in the first place. This excuse denies that God is intelligent.  It implies that those who suffer have themselves to blame for ignoring God's warning.  It is one thing to blame people for living in a city next a volcano but another to say God is using nature to give them a sign that they should not live there.  The two are not the same thing and the latter is a very judgemental thing to say.

 

The idea of God doing many terrible things in nature so that Donald Trump can be rich and well does not sit well with anybody.

Christian reply: God makes you feel that bad things in nature exist and ought not to happen. That proves it is a mystery why he lets them happen but he asks to come to him for help to battle them.

 

Reply: Mystery is often an euphemism for contradiction or nonsense.  It is a disguise.  A person who settles for mystery needs to do more than just tell you they believe it is a mystery.  They need to verify that they really think that but they never do.  Thus they are flippant and irresponsible in the face of so much human suffering.

Christian reply: We observe that those who suggest that natural evil proves there is no loving God are not talking so much about the evil but about the way God is responsible for all things and how he provides for all things in a loving way. 

 

Reply: Translation: Atheists are accused of caring about the notion of a loving God who reigns over all things completely more than about evil. This is a straw man approach.  When we have to live in this universe we have to start with how repulsive evil is.  The Christians are trying to make out that atheists just care about debunking God's care and providence and don't really have any concern for evil and suffering. 

 

Make no mistake: the doctrine that we must believe in God though there is natural evil is accusing unbelievers of trying to debunk God's love and not caring about the evil at all though it will be used as an excuse for denying the existence of God.  There is passive aggressive hatred in the doctrine.


Christian reply: God does not create the diseases and earthquakes miraculously so he is not directly responsible for any natural evil. He is not the direct but the indirect or the remote cause. God does not cause tragic deaths - he only refuses to do a miracle to prevent the death. He lets nature take its course. He has set up nature to be random as well as ruled by laws so it does not follow that he rigs the universe to produce natural disasters. God permitting evil means that God has not done a miracle, though able, to avert it. That is all it means.

 

God creates a thing - a first cause.  The thing is said to do something itself which is a secondary cause.  The Catholic Catechism says, “The truth that God is at work in all the actions of his creatures is inseparable from faith in God the Creator. God is the first cause who operates in and through secondary causes” (CCC 308).  So clearly if you are God and you create a car you create whatever the car does as well.  So the secondary cause thing does not mean it is in anyway less dependent or further away from God as a primary cause directly created would be.  It is just a way of describing how God creates a thing and creates what it does.  In a sense the secondary cause is "more" created than the primary for there is no point in God creating anything that does nothing. 

 
The Bible God's actions are always spoken of as direct.  The Bible attributes “actions to God without mentioning any secondary causes. This is not a ‘primitive mode of speech,’ but a profound way of recalling God’s primacy and absolute Lordship over history and the world” (CCC 304).  The Catholic Church then is saying that the idea of direct and indirect causes or primary and secondary causes is not saying there is any real difference - in reality there is no secondary cause for a secondary cause is just another primary cause - but just helps our understanding.  It is a useful model for us to talk about it.

 

 

Reply: All that is assumption.  You cannot say that somebody taking a disease and dying is God permitting evil and not doing a secret or hidden miracle to them.  A miracle can simulate natural law.  You need proof before you can exonerate God.  It is people's suffering you are talking about and where is your sense of justice?  Believers habitually violate decency to defend their God of earthquakes and plagues and naturally violent urges in the human heart.

 

The transformation of the model into something that makes us feel less bad when two harmless viruses come together to make a dangerous one as if distancing the bad virus from God makes any difference is actually anti-God and manipulative and cruel.  A murderer who uses hypnosis to get her friend to stab the enemy is not made better by the fact that she didn't handle the knife.  She is made as bad or worse if you like.


Christian reply: God shows he hates natural evil by the fact that he inspires you to consider natural events however violent only to be evil if they actually hurt people. You will not say that a meteorite destroying the earth is a good thing if it gets rid of human beings so that animals may thrive better in our absence.

 

Reply: The vast majority of people can do nothing about the meteorite  Science probably can do nothing either. Only a cruel God would ask you to consider natural evil by definition to refer to only what can hurt people or does hurt people as if you are supposed to do something about it when you cannot.  Even the evils we can handle are few and far between.  A God inspiring you to feel something natural is evil because it can harm people and because he wants to get you to do something when you cannot is a liar.  Inspiring is communicating.


Christian reply: People may deliberately put themselves in danger or sometimes they just don’t know any better. If they die in tsunamis or whatever that is not God’s fault but down to the decisions they made. God's role is simply that he did no miracle to get them to move somewhere safer.

 

Reply: It is still being said to be their doing.  That is still offensive and insulting.

 

William Lane Craig says that if man had looked after nature properly and did sensible things there would be no problem with nature. That answer insults the vast majority of the human race who died in natural disasters for they did not know. It was not their fault. He claims that rich nations get through natural disasters the best and this is unfair because of the imbalance of wealth in the world.  He needs to give us clear solid documented evidence for his terrible allegation but he would not do that even if he could!


Christian reply: Natural evil is unavoidable for if God protected us from it all then we would have a new natural evil: the state of being spoiled selfish creatures.

Reply: Translation - you are a bad person so we just need to put you in a situation where that badness will not be called upon or nurtured or manifest.  Do not fail to see how nasty that reply is and its full of hateful insinuation.  See how it says we force God to permit natural evil!  If it is so necessary then why not say he sends it directly either through nature or a hidden miracle?  A God who permits natural evil but does not send it obviously is not interested in doing what is best for us.  A mother who permits somebody to feed her baby instead of doing it herself would be a bad mother.  Christians say God is doing something similar and they still call  him a good daddy!!  Notice how the reply is devoid of real compassion and shows the true colours of the Christian and the God-believer.


Christian reply: Adam and Eve and others have sinned and sin brings hurt in itself and through it is punishment on people connected to the offender though it is not their fault. It is surmised by some that Adam and Eve had bodies like the body of Jesus after the resurrection which was unaffected by harm and if an avalanche fell on Jesus it would do him no harm for the rocks would just pass through him. It is said that when Adam and Eve became independent of God they threw off his protection and that had consequences for them and their children.


Reply: 
The Bible says nothing of the sort about Adam and Eve.  Jesus himself said nothing about what his resurrection body was like.  The doctrines about the ghost style body are based on hearsay.  It is not certain that even the New Testament supports it.  A vision of a Jesus who appears in ghost like body does not mean Jesus has a ghost like body.   Even in Catholicism, apparitions are done by different methods.  It is thought by some that Mary did not appear bodily in Lourdes but was seen by remote viewing.  The Bible believers always really believe in their own theories and speculations and interpretations rather than in the Bible.

 

Christian reply: Human sin in general causes and worsens natural evil.  So if you suffer sin is to blame though not necessarily your own sin or sins.  Jesus said that natural disasters in some cases had nothing to do with the particular sinners who died and were not down to their sins.  See John 9:1-3. See Luke 13:4.

 

Reply: Jesus however clearly made the notion that suffering is down to sin an understandable view to take though he dismissed it.  Atheists prefer to say there is no excuse for even considering it.  And Jesus did not say that every disaster has nothing to do with your sins.  He expressly said that punishment for sin through natural disaster does happen.

 

William Lane Craig was asked by Kevin Harris if natural evils could be seen not as direct or miraculous judgments of God but as indirect ones. Craig said he could not see any reason to think that. In other words, if a reason or an indication came up he would consider that dreadful doctrine or even believe it.

 

No decent person implies they would consider such hideous nonsense.

 

Surely Craig thinks natural evil is the indirect result or remote result of human moral evil? He says he does not. But if natural evil is fine then what is so wrong with saying it is a direct or indirect result?  The Christians are trying to play on the common tendency to worry more about direct evil than indirect as if the latter could not be worse!  It usually is worse and more deceptive.

 

Christian reply: Moral evil such as sin matters and natural evil is nothing in comparison.

 

Reply: How important is this idea to the Christian faith? Because God has to be portrayed as the innocent and Christians think that sin is the ultimate reason for suffering and death this idea is central. The Christian would be eager to say that any other reply is just an opinion but this one is something more. It is a lot more. But see what they are doing. They make out that natural evil is worse than direct moral evil. They see a random mechanical thing such as a plague that has nothing to do with any agent man or God as better than a sin. But the fact remains that judgementalism is bad for it looks for moral faults in people instead of the good and this is judgementalism. Judgementalism is itself a moral evil. So they use a moral evil to make a natural evil look better and reasonable. They water down the badness of death and horror and suffering in order and violate innocent until proven guilty to do it. To accuse Adam and Even for example of causing all this evil is vile.  If you think those people existed and accused them you are no better than a person slandering your neighbour.

 

It is shocking that the God belief implies that sin is the worst evil and that a small sin is worse than a natural disaster like an earthquake. God allows natural evil to happen implying he prefers it to sin. But God should abhor sin and evil the same. Evil whether wilful or not should offend him infinitely. We do not condone the actions of a tyrant who maims and butchers and say it was for an understandable but wrong purpose and we can see and feel the tyrant. We cannot be as sure there is a God the way we can be as sure that the tyrant exists so we condone the seemingly evil ways of a being who may not exist in preference to condoning the similar ways of a real person. But it is better to give a possible reason for God’s actions than just to say, “Oh God knows what he is doing – but I cannot explain it”, which is an unimpressive cop-out. So if a young mother is killed tragically you should say, “Perhaps if she had lived she would have turned into a monster that abuses her child so God did right to take her”, if she had been showing signs of a bad temper before she died which has to be done if there is a God who comes first, whose honour matters more than the dead woman’s.  Do not forget that there is a perhaps there even if unspoken.  Those perhaps should offend us more than the spoken ones.

 

Another problem is that to condemn a human being for doing something like slapping someone on the face and not to condemn God for making things like smallpox and flesh-eating bugs is terribly unjust. We can’t reward and praise bad actions even when done by well-meaning people and God cannot be an exception. Its worse when the person will suffer from the condemnation and God cannot for he is out of reach and the Church says nobody can give him anything for he is perfect and is totally happy. It is certainly worse to hurt a person you can see and touch for something minor or fairly minor and let God off the hook for worse when you cannot be as sure that he is as real as the human person.

 

Christian reply: Let us remember that no matter how many terrible things happen naturally that God made it all good until we ruined it by sin.

 

Reply: It seems that when the Bible says God made all things and it was very good until Adam and Eve sinned it means it was more than morally good but not less than morally good. Genesis allegedly teaches that humans wanted to be independent to God and thus better than God which was why they sinned.

 

Christians think that it may be impossible for God to create a perfect world so the universe would still be exceptionally and remarkably good even if there were imperfections.  Or perhaps it is more likely that imperfections would develop. So Adam and Eve could have been created innocent and sin free but that does not mean they were created perfect.

 

But a competent God would not have let nature turn into such an absolute disaster.  Imperfection is no excuse for disasters arising.

 

The notion of God creating all things good is ridiculous even if only because when man sinned he used it as an excuse to create it bad. The bad things that the Bible speaks about such as illness and death and dangerous animals were not and couldn’t not be created by sin for it is clear only God creates.

 

Trying to blame sin for it all is unfair and shows believers spite people in the sense that they would be unfair to them in that matter to salvage God's reputation.


Christian reply: A rock that hits you on the head is not evil though the hitting is evil for you. Rocks falling on people is just normal by-product. It is not a moral evil or a real evil in any sense.


Reply: Take sexual desire. Why not consider it a natural thing as natural as a rock falling on something? Some Christians say that it is. So what is lust? They say it is a misuse of sexual desire where it becomes a desire just to look at or use another person purely for sexual and selfish gratification where it is about the gratification not the person.


Christians reply: Natural evils are intended to help us develop better as children of God and as good people.

Reply: What about babies and children that die young?  The Church lumps them together with everybody else.  But they take priority for their situation is not the same as for an adult.  They are undoubtedly innocent and are robbed of the start they deserve in life. It is an insult not to concentrate on the natural evil that afflicts them instead of trying to mask the evil as being no better than what happens to others.

Christians reply: Believers say that "it is not justified natural evil that is the problem for belief in God but unjustified evil. So you cannot try to use it to disprove God."

 

Reply: Read between the lines. It means that what looks like an justified evil might actually be justified or partly justified.  And what if an evil looks unjustified but partly or fully is?  So the Christian attitude to innocent suffering is, "It is probably undeserved but then again there is a chance it might be."  Hear that but loud and clear.  Again it proves that you only make yourself evil by trying to defend the man-made idea of God.  You are doing it for man not God.

 

Alvin Plantinga says that natural evil was allowed to happen by God because it was the punishment for Adam and Eve's sin.  We should not be so selfish that we would be okay if we were caught up in a punishment that belongs to Adam and Eve but not okay if we are the ones getting punishment.

 

Genesis speaks of God creating that evil in response to what Adam and Eve did not just allowing it.   Genesis never says it realises that Adam and Eve wanted to be free from God but it does say they thought he wanted to keep them stupid.  That was not a rebellion but a mistake.

Christian reply: Evil is just good that is in the wrong place and time.  Sin and natural evil is just good that is not good enough.  Sin and evil do not really exist - they are just a lack of good.

 

Reply: The suggestion that evil is just a falling short of good and not a power or force is used to deny that God creates evil. This is an attempt to make the goodness of God fit with the existence of evil. It seeks to miss the point. The point is not what evil is. The point is that evil is.

To be more interested in what evil is than that it is shows you have flaws in your empathy for suffering people.  You are turning it into a theory that you can fit with God instead of seeing it for the totally vile horror it is.

Astonishing, truly astonishing, that anybody could accept the suggestion that evil is just misplaced good as an excuse for divine evil! It is very hurtful to tell people that their suffering is nothing but the absence of health. It is very hurtful to say to earthquake victims, "What happened in the earthquake was good for evil is just lesser good. The earthquake was sent by God and he didn't do wrong for the earthquake is simply the absence of stable ground." In fact, as we are bound to respect God if he exists it would be a sin to see evil as terrible instead of seeing it as just good that was in the wrong place and time. We are to see good as the mirror in which we see God and it honours him who makes it.

Christians reply: Our ideas about natural evil help bit towards understanding evil and suffering but we must never think that God lets evil happen for one reason. He has many different reasons and no reason can cover every case.

 

Reply:

 

Where is the evidence that there is more than one reason?  They should say there may be one reason or many.  Leave the question open.

 

Please notice that each refutation of Christian excuses for believing in the love of God despite or because of (take your pick!) natural evil is sufficient to show that natural evil disproves God.  When a Christian is refuted she moves on to another argument.  Quantity not quality is the Christian method and it is useful for fooling the target audience the average believer who thinks the religion seems true or could be true when they are scared off by the quantity and complexity.

How important?

 

Question : What is more relevant or important? Natural evil or moral evil?

 

If natural evil is a good objection to the love of God then how good is it? Is it the main objection?

 

To say it is not gives rise to the following consequences. If evil is so bad that nothing loving could tolerate it do not forget that it cannot be allowed simply because it is evil.

 

Evil means that which is intolerable and any theory that fits it with God denies this so it succumbs to evil by watering it down for religion.  Evil cannot be handled correctly unless it is diagnosed properly.

 

 

The religious seem to find a problem with human evil but not natural evil which amounts to saying it is better to take terminal cancer than for a person to insult you.  To say such an insane thing would be a moral evil.  If that is what you have to do to defend God and natural evil then you need to learn about becoming a good person.

It is not up to you to say it is not the main objection when you cannot experience what everybody has experienced during natural evil. If you suffer all your life you will not know what it was like for them and have no right. The compassion of the believer is sentimentality while true compassion does not hold back in learning how vile and dreadful and intolerant it is for somebody to suffer and die.

An evil that is done by nature is worse than an evil done by a person. Why and how?  Nature cannot control it or stop it and strictly speaking it is not controlled.  The laws of nature are not laws as in control.  They are laws in the sense that we know what to expect of nature.  You don't know what it is going to do.  A bad person does know what evil she will do and can change her mind.  Better her controlled evil than random mindless uncontrolled.

 

The view that most evils are brought about by human beings is wrong. Most evils are natural. Even human evil has a natural element. Moral evil is a product of natural evil.  So natural evil is the issue that needs concentration on.

We all experience suffering and death as terrible things and gross evils and worse than immoral stuff. We fear plagues more than a serial killer for the plagues will always do more harm than him or her. The attempts to solve the natural evil problem insult and violate our human nature and thus do violence to it for the sake of defending religion and God.

 

Finally, human caused evil is nothing compared to natural evil and natural evil seems to follow human evil.  To care about moral evil so much is itself a moral evil.

Conclusion: 

 

The excuses for natural evil and God letting them happen boil down to three.  One is that somehow it is impossible to make a non-dangerous universe.  Two that natural evil is not morally relevant or if it is then the suffering it causes is not as bad as the suffering caused by human beings.  Three evil spirits are using their free will to do the evil.  All of these are desperate. 

 

Do not say natural evil possibly refutes God.  It does more than that.  It refutes it.  Do not forget that if it refuted it that those who want to believe in God would say it possibly refutes God.  They soften disproofs of God to portray them as opinions not disproofs and they don't want to look like callous people who won't see suffering for what it really is - intolerable.  They even condemn the notion that "if evil ought not to happen then God cannot let it happen". Their numerous bad fruits, each of which alone is enough to show that ignoring God's role if he exists in natural evil is vile and inexcusable, add up to make a warped and poisonous broth.  Make no mistake: to make excuses for natural evil is itself morally evil if we really do have free will to be moral or immoral.

 

With natural evil there is a lot of talk about it being indirect evil.  Why not admit the truth?  The truth is that the theory itself is at best indirectly cruel.

Isaiah 45:7 "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these."