Evil? Now There’s a Problem

Popular theme of the month – Problem of Evil. It seems this gets argued a lot. Just to give you a rudimentary explanation of the problem, we start with the guy who may have been the first one to realize there was a problem, Epicurus:

Ok, so what we here is god is all powerful, all knowing and all good. Ah, but how to reconcile that with the existence of evil? Hmmmm. David Hume paraphrased Epicurus like this:

“Is He willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then He is impotent. Is He able, but not willing? Then He is malevolent. Is He both able and willing? Whence then is evil?” – Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion

So here it is, you have the following 4 premises:
1. God is all good
2. God is all powerful
3. God is all knowing
4. Evil exists

Only 3 of these things can logically coexist. If that’s not clear enough, how about a graphic?

Alright, so although recent debates have had their high and low points, it at least was intellectually stimulating. There are some clever but flawed attempts at solving the PoE, but nothing like this sadly deluded chap:

Let’s go through what’s wrong here one thing at a time:
• Strict god who punishes harshly for those who rape and kill in Old Testament.
1. What about the victims? Have we forgotten about them? This clown has. Innocents suffering = evil = failure
2. Bad men do bad things. Evil exists = failure
3. Man’s heart cursed and evil. Epic failure
• Send son to begin process of abolishing evil
1. Begin process? Then either he doesn’t know how or is unable to do it immediately
2. Needs his kid’s help? wtf?
• “Evil is the opposite of god and its logically impossible to erase an opposite”
1. Really? Ignorance can’t be erased with knowledge?
2. So now god is a slave to logic?
3. Is he saying “Hale”, as in Alan Hale Jr.?

Now what this simpleton is trying to argue is an old attempt at solving the problem by redefining evil. The trick is to call evil the absence of god. The best way to describe this I heard on the Guerrila Radio Show. Imagine you have a hole in your pants. That hole is evil, but is the hole a thing, or is it actually the absence of pants? Silly, I know, but that’s the trick. So why doesn’t god close up the hole then? He’s all powerful, right? Ah, but humans can choose not to let him in, they can deny god. All powerful god denied by a human? – Failure

• On Judgement day, the people who chose evil go to Hale and all that’ll be left will be people who didn’t choose evil so then evil will be abolished!
1. Except in Hale of course – oops
2. If god knows everything, then he knew when he created humans that a mess of them would be doomed to eternal suffering in Hale. Not cool
• Why call him god? Because even after man screwed up god’s perfect plan, god had a back up plan.
1. What part of perfect don’t you follow?
2. Backup plan?
• Some will dismiss this as not making sense, and that was prophesized
First rule when selling nonsense is to tell your marks others might say it’s nonsense, but don’t listen

So yeah, there you go. Solved that thing, didn’t he? Yikes!

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25 Responses to “Evil? Now There’s a Problem”

  1. If one goes to Hale, is part of the pun-nishment getting Bopped? I'd like to hear your comet on that.Very good post, enjoyed it immensely.That xian great circle that they always trot out, it always comes back to "faith" and "tests" thereof. Don't question, stay a rube.I noticed when I was a young'un that when I asked questions which smacked of Epictitus (SP?) I noticed that what usually started as a rather calm explanation to my questions usually acquired a terseness and stridency as my questions continued, and often ended full of arm waving, shouting of insults, wide eyes, flying spittle, and threats all directed at my person.This must be an example of the "peace that passeth understanding"

  2. Uhh, I’ve been avoiding this discussion.

    Round and round like a record.

    I did want to point out, though, that the guy in the middle is wearing socks. That’s not good. He must be evil.

  3. Yup, he’s going to Hale

    I don’t see it as going ’round and ’round, I see it more like skipping again and again, and again. The record won’t play, but they keep trying. Blow on the needle, wipe the record, it doesn’t matter.

    Thanks for finally weighing in, Infinity.

  4. Given:
    1. God has a wheel
    2. We have to think about god’s playin’

    It follows, logically, then, that god has a bicycle, but it’s missing a tire. If this guy thinks I’m paying for a new bike for Jesus, he’s out of his mind.

    Well, maybe now that I think about it, I might have jumped to the wrong conclusion.

    God has a unicycle.

    And we can further conclude:
    Since god is obsessed with his wheel and his playin’, he must love circular arguments.

  5. Now see, I thought god was just overly enamored with his Sit and Spin.

  6. Philly:
    I looked at the picture of the Sit and Spin, and I think you’re trying to subliminally sneak in the idea that god is a little girl.

    But everybody knows that Jesus is a boy’s name. The bible says so. And I’ve got proof about god and his bike — or his unicycle

  7. Fascinating, but what about Alanis Morissette as god in Dogma?

    Frankly, if god was a chick and she went down on more people in theaters, she’d get a lot more people to choose her over evil. That even starts to make that absence of god thing equalling evil make more sense for surely the absence of blowjobs is evil. I would choose eternal blowjobs from Alanis Morissette over an eternity of being Satan’s little buddy in Hale.

    If she could blow while on a unicycle, she certainly would be god and I fully endorse her playin’.

  8. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Sarge!

    Surely Hale would be full of eternal bops on the head, not to mention having to wear that silly hat and the rest of the outfit for ever and ever.

  9. Wait a second – are WE the “goats”?

    By the way, I just saw Dogma for the first time 3 days ago. I wasn’t blown away, though it’s always fun to spoof beliefs beliefs.

    The thing I found most remarkable (at least with the video version) was that the producers (or movie company) felt it necessary to put a little “warning” at the beginning of the flick, asking basically that people not go out and hurt others over anger generated by their belief getting spoofed. I guess that’s an improvement over what would happen if this were directed at Islam.

  10. Or even spoofing beliefs beliefs beliefs.

  11. Evil is the result of living in contradiction to God’s love. All of humanity starting with Adam have used their free will to their own destructive means. A loving God wouldn’t create robots forced to love Him. We had to have a choice. We we made the wrong one. However, God’s love extends beyond our unrighteousness to providing a full restoration back to Him through Jesus. The choice is still ours to make. But He has provided the way of reconcillation and the way to end all evil that we created.

  12. Thank you Karla for stopping by.

    • First, I deny the premise. Evil is not living in contradiction to god’s love.
    - Not only is the existence of this god dubious, this so-called love of his is creepy and twisted.
    - Acts of needless and/or excessive suffering could still be considered evil regardless if there was a god or not
    • Second as far as the robots, would that be worse than making creatures HE KNEW would reject him and subsequently be tortured for that for the rest of eternity? Plus, that’s what everyone in heaven will be won’t they? So why would it be wrong to create robots for Earth but ok to have robots in Heaven? If free will is so great, why take it away as part of a reward?
    • His need for our love is proof he’s not the all powerful, all knowing, all good god christians claim he is for such a god would want for nothing. Now if you want to argue he’s not all those things, please elaborate. Otherwise, those attributes are inconsistent with your assertions.

  13. One thing I never got…why am I being punished for Adam’s disobedience? I have not used my free will for my own destructive means, and even if I have, is that worth the punishment of eternity in Hell? Short of me murdering people or running with scissors, I can’t imagine that punishment fitting the crime.

  14. That makes no sense. Agreed. Here are some others:
    • Why not create Adam and Eve with knowledge of right and wrong from the get go?
    • Why create the tree in the first place and put it there and say hands off?
    • Why create the snake or let him in?
    • How could he punish them for failing the test when, if all knowing, he knew what would happen before he created the test?
    • As you asked, why am I being punished for them failing a test, and a fixed one at that?

    None of it makes sense.

    Thanks for chiming in, Bacchus

  15. Why do theists find it necessary to come to atheist blogs and spout their gospel, as if the authors and commenters have never heard it before, or just haven’t understood it, but they’ll get it this time?

  16. Karla said: A loving God wouldn’t create robots forced to love Him. We had to have a choice.

    No, but according to your book, he did make angels who had proof positive of his existence – they were living it.

    It makes no sense to test my love without providing evidence of his existence. Why should I believe in him? Because the bible tells me so? This isn’t evidence and if he’s so fucking omniscient, he’d realize this.

    According to the bible that you’d like me to accept, despite the fact that it proves absolutely nothing about the existence of god, says that some of the angels of heaven rebelled against him. They “KNEW” he exists and still used their free will to rebel. Why not give me the same opportunity to rebel or obey that he gave those angels?

    And what about all those poor souls of other religions who have been indoctrinated since birth to believe unquestioningly (as you do) that their beliefs are true? How are they supposed to distinguish between what their family, friends and community have taught them, and what god REALLY wants them to believe?

    Oh shit… I must be terribly bored tonight.

  17. Philly said: How could he punish them for failing the test when, if all knowing, he knew what would happen before he created the test?

    Good point. Let’s extend it.

    Being omniscient, he already knows (in fact, knew prior to my birth), whether or not I would pass or fail. Omniscient beings don’t need to create tests. Is there a chance I might surprise him and use my free will to accept jesus? Then he isn’t omniscient.

    This is where some bright theist jumps in and informs me that we can’t know the mind of god. If so, why presume to tell us what you think?

  18. Hey John Evo, I think you just made me a little bit more atheist (if even possible) with your argument. But it leaves me with one question: If those angels rebelled against god knowing they would be doomed to hell…what did they know that we aren’t being told? This leaves me to think, if I wanted to follow the dilluted thinking of the Christians, that Hell is probably a lot better than Heaven anyway!

  19. It’s hard to weave a big old fairy tale without having things like these stand out.

    Stick with your atheism…. If we’re wrong, I’ll buy the first round “down-under”. It should be a, err… hell of a party.

  20. You have to remember that you’re dealing with people who are fundamentally irrational. You can’t expect their arguments to make sense, they operate on the ridiculous assumption that they’re right a priori and anyone who can’t see how right they are has something wrong with them.

    Because most of us actually use the gray matter in our heads for more than keeping our heads from imploding, this kind of thinking seems moronic, and it is. But trying to reason with any of these people is a complete waste of time because reason is a concept they can’t comprehend.

    BTW: good blog, phillychief. I put you in my blogroll, it’s nice to see people who are just as frustrated as I am with the world talking about it.

  21. Thanks boss! It’s nice to see someone more worked up than I am. You’re quite the prolific ranter, so I’ll need to pop in regularly, which will put you on my frequent visit list. ;)

    The argument I hold to is that people like the clown in the video, well, you can forget about them for the most part. However, there are countless people out there who may only hear people like that. I feel it’s an obligation to publicly challenge the nonsense these asshats say for if no other reason, to let those other people know there is more than that crap, it’s ok to question, it’s ok to challenge, hell, it’s ok to think, and you’re not alone.

  22. Yo Chief,

    I had to drop out of the Problem of Evil discussion for a bit. Not that I think you necessarily care, or that we were about to stumble upon some truth that’s been eluded in the past 2400 years. Although I do think the conversations bore some semblance of productivity from a strictly logical point of view. At any rate, I just wanted to pop in today and tell you that I used your “peanut butter” analogy here, and gave you a shout out accordingly.

  23. That’s funny. I’m not sure if people will get the analogy without the back story, but thanks all the same. New blog?

    Well I ain’t going anywhere, and neither is the PoE, so no hurry.

  24. Of course you need to challenge them, someone certainly needs to and it might as well be your own responsibility to go after abject stupidity for fun and profit. :)

    The world’s social or intellectual injustices don’t go away by pretending they’re not there. They need to be met head on and kicked in the teeth repeatedly. The only way anyone recognizes how destructive something can be is by pointing it out. Ignorance never solved anything.

  25. lol – the LPoE is trivially dismissable, the EPoE is more of a problem, but is impossible to discuss with people without common ground in definition of morality, so…

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