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THE PROBLEM OF EVIL - WHO HAS THE BIGGER PROBLEM OF EVIL - THE ATHEIST OR THE CHRISTIAN?

Summary: Christians say that if we cannot explain how God the source of all good permits evil, we should remember that without God we have no reason to believe in love and justice at all. So to deny God creates a worse problem of evil. Atheists say that when man judges what goodness is he cannot say that God solves anything for the whole point of faith in God is to get away from man inventing and judging what good and evil are for to follow your perception of good is not the same thing as following good. Also nobody wants to argue that if your faith in God is weak that means your faith in justice and love are weak. Atheists say good is a default
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THE ARGUMENT: The problem of evil is less harmful and less of a difficulty for a Christian than it is for the atheist. If it sinks Christianity, hypothetically speaking, it does a better job of sinking atheism. For example, the atheist cannot say that it is terrible when wild animals take babies and dismember them alive for food. The atheist should just say, "It is not right and it is not wrong. It is just the way things are! It is okay then if we do nothing about it. If nature does not care and cannot care then why should you care?"

The argument is a stupid one. The problem could sink both. But it does not follow that it sinks both equally. Perhaps it sinks Christianity best.

 

If it sinks both, the fact remains that we have to choose one or the other. We have to assume there is or is not a God. If you do not feel that God backs morality then belief will do you no good. So it is what you feel that matters not God as such. Assuming there is a God as a prop to inspire yourself is not real respect for God and thus you should assume atheism for you might as well.

 

The Christian claims that each of us is a little bit atheist. There is a part of us that thinks there is no God. When you are not totally certain God exists that means you mostly believe but do not fully believe.

 

If there is a bigger problem of evil with atheism than with faith then Christians are not immune from it. The problem touches them.

 

Anyway, atheism is alleged to have a bigger problem of evil than believers in God have.

 

Believers usually say that an atheist who thinks there is no God has no right to call anything evil. They say the atheist has no standard for judging that it is evil when a little bird is being torn to pieces by a cat. They say that the atheist assumes that creatures ought to be healthy and happy. They ask where the ought comes from and say it can only come from God so the atheist is guilty of having God at the back of his mind and not admitting it or realising it. They even go as far as to say that the atheist is loath to say what evil and suffering are.

 

But the atheist merely judges it as evil without God. The cat is not evil for it is only doing what nature has programmed it to do but the killing is still evil. Evil exists whether we are programmed biological computers or not.

 

The believer judges what is evil without God too. The believer tries to say that his morals and wisdom all come from God but he is lying because he asserts that he trusts in God because God has shown himself to be reliable and trustworthy. The believer is judge over God not the other way around. If faith in God needs a big lie like that then atheism even if it has problems is less bad.

 

Case closed: the one thing that the believers need to say to try and solve the problem of evil fails and is evil and ignorant and daft itself. The problem of evil is fatal to faith in God.

 

MISPLACED GOOD AS THE DEFINITION OF EVIL

 

Religion says that evil is just an absence of good and is not real which means that evil does not exist. Instead of evil we have good that is not good enough. What would you think of a believer in God who told a woman whose baby just died that it was not terrible but simply not good enough? The fact that it would be more logical for a believer to say that than for an atheist shows that there is something inherently wrong with belief in God. The believer in God takes on pressure to see evil that way - a pressure which the atheist avoids and is happy to avoid and do without.

 

We need to remember that to say that evil is merely good in the wrong place borders on trivialising it that the doctrine if true is a necessary evil.
But surely an atheist can believe that good is a default and evil is a distortion of good? Yes. But as evil as in deep depression cannot be called a distortion of good - there is nothing good about the experience

 

SAME PROBLEM?

 

Christians do say, "You atheists have the same problem with evil as we do." If they are wrong then atheists should not worry about the Christian problem but worry about their own.

 

The alleged problem of evil for atheists and the problem of evil for believers in God are different problems. Christians have to look at their own problem not the atheist one. It is unfair to try and present two separate problems as being the same one.

 

What then is the difference?

 

For Christians, evil puts God's love on trial. For atheists, it also puts God's love on trial. For Christians, God's love means we can really believe in love and in doing good. They say that atheists discard God and thus have no right to value love and good deeds.

 

The Christian problem is worse for they make out that a person who endures such horrors that they end up on the brink of suicide are part of God's wise and loving plan! Do they imply that God will stop the suicide? If he does not then they reason it is part of the plan too.
 
HOW STRICT MUST WE BE?
 

Would one proof that God does not love matter if everything else was indicatory of God’s love? What if you have one proof of God’s evil and billions of his love?

 

HOW BELIEVERS IN GOD COMPARE THE ATHEIST AND THE CHRISTIAN PROBLEM OF EVIL

For atheists:

-Those who suffer great evil are left without hope.

-Those who suffer are left without the chance of finding God in the depth of their despair. Atheism insults those people who suffer horribly and who still think life is worth it.

-There is no God looking after the universe so there is no telling to what extent we can abuse our free will. Thus fear is increased.
-If you think there is no God, you can believe that you can wipe out all life on earth with nuclear weapons for he is not there to intervene.

-Atheists have no reason to be sure we really have free will. This reduces us to puppets who feel free but are not really free and are victims of chance. Atheism robs us of our human dignity as free sons and daughters of God.

-The atheist view that evil conclusively refutes the existence of God implies that evil is such a great power that it can rule the day. This is a bleak idea.

-The atheist expects God to not tolerate evil at all. This is unreasonable. It overlooks the fact that tolerating something does not mean one approves of it.

-The atheist denies God and does away with the being who is the standard of goodness and perfection. The atheist then ends up with a problem of good. The problem of good asks how good could be real or implemented if there is no good God that makes good. This problem is worse than the problem of evil. The problem of evil acknowledges that God is perfect goodness. The problem of good suggest that good is only a human invention and what is good can be changed according to human fashions. Atheists seem to think they are good people and that is why they consider the problem of evil to be so serious. But this involves creating an even more serious problem. The problem of evil can be a difficulty but the problem of good is a catastrophe.

-Many atheists state that rather than evil disproving God’s existence, it is evidence that God does not exist. They think that evil makes God’s existence less plausible. They have no right to reject such a loving God and the greatness of faith in him without proof.

-The man who sees his wife seemingly doing evil may choose to trust her that she knows better than he. He is able to exercise the virtue of trust though he does not understand. The atheist deprives himself of the chance to exercise this virtue in relation to God. Thus atheism makes the problem of evil worse.

-Atheism denies that good is an objective moral value. Thus there is nothing stopping the murderer from saying, “I like killing and nobody can give me evidence that it is really wrong. Your opinion is that it is wrong. Mine is that it is not so why don’t you respect my opinion?”

For believers,

#Good is more powerful than evil. Good is a power while evil is nothing but good in the wrong place. Evil is not a power. God did not make evil. When evil is just faulty good it follows that good must be the default state and therefore the powerful one.

#God can use evil to bring an equal amount of good or even more good out of it. The parent gives the child freedom that may allow him or her to hurt others and himself or herself but the parent keeps enough control to bring good out of this. Controlling the child’s every move would be a worse evil than letting the child make mistakes.

#If there is a God, he allows us to do a lot of evil merely out of respect for our free will but he is still working for good. That is to say, we can be confident that if an evil person wants to make a virus that will make everybody on earth die horribly that God can act though divine providence to prevent that person getting the opportunity. The person could make the virus but God can guide someone to make the antidote.

#Evil exists because God has given us the dignity of being beings who have free will and we have abused that gift. We caused evil not God. God gives us free will so that we can love for love is a voluntary thing and also because of the dignity and worth merely having free will gives us. Free will is good in itself and worth the damage we do with it.

#The believer holds that evil is a problem in the light of the goodness of God but not a contradiction of it. Thus the believer does not see evil as a power that may overcome all things. The believer sees evil as good that is in the wrong place. Evil is parasitic on good. The believer has hope in the triumph of good. The atheist cannot have that same hope.

#The believer knows that God may have to allow evil to happen because trying to stop it will make no improvement or will limit human free will too much.

#Believers hold that God alone is perfect. We always fall short of him. It seems evil to atheists that God would arrange for us to be imperfect but believers find it understandable. God is not under any obligation to make us as smart as he is for example.

#To atheists who see evil as evidence against the existence of God rather than a disproof, Christians can say that as God controls the universe it is only to be expected that we cannot know exactly why many evil things happen. He sees the complete picture. If we could see it we would understand.

 

THE ARGUMENT IS MANIPULATIVE

 

The argument that evil is worse in principle and practice for one who thinks there is no God, making it a bigger problem for the atheist is one manipulative argument. It tells you how awful evil is if there is no God and how there is no hope of it being overcome. But the bad results do not make the argument true! If the non-existence of God is too much to bear that does not mean God exists and that we could be okay.

 

In fact to argue that the unwanted results mean that there must be a God is itself an evil argument. Its nonsense, it is a lie and if you need to lie to have faith in God then atheism is what you should prefer. A morality founded on a lie is not morality. The argument solves a problem of evil by creating a worse one. To argue that there is a God for its terrible if there is not is really to tell a lie. It solves nothing.

 

Is faith in God really a good thing if it is based on that fear? No. The argument seeks to scare. It is beyond cruel to try and horrify people into believing in God. It is a recipe for bigotry and obscurantism and war.

 

HOPE IS UNAVOIDABLE

 

No matter how bad things get the firm atheist has hope. He feels it will end some time. He will have seen how evil can give way to good. Even impending death gives the atheist hope for it does not mean that everybody else will die with him and death means nothing can hurt him any more.

 

It is not true that atheists think evil will have the last word if there is no God to bring good out of it. Atheists do not claim to believe or know that evil will have the last word. They know that there is some good in our existing and also some good in our not existing. For example, it was good to not exist before we appeared in the womb for at least until then it was impossible for us to suffer. The atheist and the believer both think that good will always be there and is strongest. Both see by experience that things do turn around.

 

Religion likes to say that evil is really just good that is in the wrong place and time. So evil is just misplaced good. Both atheists and believers tend to see most problems as having a good side. If evil is just misplaced good then you don't need faith in God to have hope. Both atheists and believers see good as a default. Good is just there and evil is an attempt to warp it. But while good can exist without evil evil cannot exist without good.

 

The atheist who sees evil as a distortion of good does not need to believe in God. It is evil to create a need for God where none exists. The believer then aligns with evil more than the atheist would when it comes to this principle.

 

By default, the bad results will be mixed with good results too. The good results could still trump. In a sense they do for evil is the wrong good.
If there is no power making sure good wins, that does not mean good will not end up the strongest.

 

And the notion that God is needed contradicts the fact that even if there is no God, evil could still be good in the wrong time and place meaning good is the default and the strongest. God insults this fact. The argument is against faith in God and pro-faith in good.

 

THE NUCLEAR BUTTON

 

A believer can press the nuclear button too just like an atheist can. The believer may do it more easily because he thinks God will turn it into a blessing. In principle, it is better to be an atheist. God is thought to be the divine principle if it is bad to believe in God then faith in God is nonsense.

The believer is able to make evil a lesser problem than it would be by trusting that God is working for the best despite how it may look at times. But does anybody have the right to risk failing to see evil in all its filth? No for that is using the suffering of others as a means to an end. You use it so that you can have faith.

 

ABOUT THE BABY

The atheist and the believer both know on a scientific basis that a baby is a living conscious being. The person has the baby and has some decisions to make. This forces a question on her whether she is atheist or believer - it is forced remember. The question is, "Will I help the baby to feel as well as possible or will I let it die?" The recognition of what the baby is comes before any moral approach. The recognition SHOULD come first. So morality is NOT EVERYTHING. If you see the recognition as a moral matter then it follows that moral matter comes before any other moral matters. In other words, first and foremost recognise the child. The question of how the child is to be treated comes after and is not as important.

 

YOU ARE JUDGE OF GOD HIMSELF

 

The Christian argument that you need to believe in a God to believe in morality is interesting. But it is a refusal to admit the truth. If my belief in God gives me belief in morality, it follows that it is not God who is giving it but my belief about him. Yet Christians say they want to base morality on God and not on human belief or opinion! And if it is bad for us to decide what is moral, then it does not follow that God will help or belief in him will help. Saying your ideas about right and wrong are the same as God's is the height of arrogance and no wonder it leads to intolerance.
 
Even if there is a God and many of our ideas about him are spot-on they are still our ideas. If Mr Specific was Jack the Ripper and some book points the finger at him what use is that when there is too much of a chance that it is the person's own ideas? It is luck not knowledge or evidence that has got the right answer. If there is no God, then man is better than God for man invents this perfect all-loving being. Man cannot do that for man is not all-good but man will make it look like he has. If there is a God, there is still no way that man has his ideas about God because of God. The person who asks you to trust in God is asking too much. You cannot assume he has the real God or cares. No you can assume he is talking about the God who exists in his head.

CHANCE AND THE VALUE OF LIFE

 

Christians say that God is infinite in all perfections. He is perfect without putting it to any use. He doesn't even have to create unless he chooses to. He would still be perfect. That is rubbish. God might be perfect in his own way. But what about other kinds of goodness? Religion likes to claim that God is the ultimate source of all goodness. Imagine a mother and child could exist by chance and without being made by God. Surely her love for her child would deserve more praise than God's for it exists by chance and she continues it? She creates it. She creates it against the grain - there is no God to help her. Love produced without the assistance of God is the best love of all. Love against the grain is the most authentic love. Atheism no matter what flaws it has or how much it is abused or misused by atheists, does open the door to real goodness.

 

GOD IS NOT GOODNESS ITSELF

 

Believers seem to say God is a real being, a person and also that he is goodness itself. They say goodness is a person or persons if you believe in the Trinity - one God being three persons. This is as insane as saying the number 1 is a real person. Or that the idea of electricity (not electricity but the idea!) is a person. Believers treat God as a good person one minute and as goodness the next. The two treatments are actually mutually exclusive. When you adore goodness as an ideal and even if you call it God, you are adoring it not the person of God. To adore the person of God is to treat him as a person not as mere goodness. The atheist merely does all the time (or should) what the believer does some of the time - adore the ideal of goodness. But the atheist does not pretend it is God for it is not.

 

It is not good to say that God brings good out of evil. And if evil is good in the wrong place, it follows that God does not need to take any action. The good will happen. Evil is necessarily the opponent of good so if good comes, it comes in spite of it. There has to be a default. Whether there is a God or not has nothing to do with it. Thus the default is good.

 

COMFORT

 

The person suffering beyond our imagination need not be helped by the thought that there is a God. Indeed trying to feel that there is and failing will only make the suffering worse. If you think of happy days when you are depressed you only make yourself far more depressed. And you are telling yourself how lucky you are though you know you are not. The believer who tells you to pray and turn to God is not helping you.

 

People urging you to pray in order that you may have a relationship with God can be a torment if you suspect God is doing terrible things to you. You may feel that they care about honouring God and not you.

 

Trusting God when you are crippled with depression and emotional torment is painful for the same reason that a wife trusting her husband despite seeing the evidence that he is totally unscrupulous would be.

 

HATE AGAINST ATHEISTS IS IMPLIED BY FAITH IN GOD

 

 Religion says that, “Atheists can’t call anything evil.” But that argument is saying the atheists can call it evil to say there is evil. So, "Evil is real", is evil.  So the argument does not make any sense. And the atheist is accused of saying, “Its evil to say there is evil” which is saying the atheist is so evil that he does not want to admit that evil exists. The believers argue that atheists are presuming there is a God when they condemn evil for evil and a God who condemns it necessarily go together. To say one is to mean the other. But we have shown the atheist is not presuming God by condemning evil. The atheist is recognising that evil is about us not God. The atheist is recognising evil for what it is.

 

When God implies hate and injustice against atheists that is absolute proof that believers are wrong to worship God for that worship is based on not on evil being seen as a problem but on evil being excused and condoned and implicitly praised.

 

UNIVOCAL


Religion applies univocal language to God.  That means that as God is unlike us totally you cannot say what qualities he has but what qualities he does not have. Religion says that strictly speaking God is not loving and not merciful and not just. When we call him loving we mean not that he is loving but that he simply does not do anything unloving. Why can’t we apply univocal language to ourselves as well? Why can we call Aunt Jane love and not call God love if we want to be technical?  Human nature will suffer and rebel if we start talking about it univocally.  Univocal means that we cannot be inspired because of God but in spite of him. These problems show that God as a belief can only make evil worse. 

 

CONCLUSION

 

We conclude that the argument that atheists only make the problem of evil worse than believers do is nonsense.  The argument that evil assumes there is a God to be against it is an odd one. It is clear that to say that evil exists is not the same as virtually saying God exists.