Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Problem of Evil

In the last post I mentioned a common argument put forward by atheists. If an all good and all powerful God exists, then he would not allow evil to exist. Evil does exist, and so an all good and all powerful God must not exist.

The fact that this is an unsound deductive argument is not the only problem it has. It is only on the basis of a theistic worldview, in which God exists and provides an objective moral standard, that we can call anything objectively evil.

As I have pointed out in previous posts, atheists can’t really speak about good and evil if they are to be consistent. For if there is no supreme standard of ‘good’ which would be God, then nothing can be rightly called ‘good’ or ‘evil.’ Everything just is and therefore any given human act such as murdering an old woman for the money in her purse or starving mentally ill people to death because they are inconvenient to have around cannot really be classified as ‘evil.’ You may not like their actions but if God does not exist you have no basis higher than your own private preferences for labeling them as ‘evil.’

In a naturalist universe, nothing exists but particular material things simply doing what they naturally do. The problem of evil can only be a problem with a theistic worldview. Within a theistic worldview one might ask the question: Since God is all good and all powerful, I wonder why he allows evil to exist as he does?

Atheists must assume the existence of God and of moral absolutes in order to even pose the problem of evil. How then can the problem of evil be used as an argument against God’s existence?

From “The Godless Delusion” by Patrick Madrid and Kenneth Hensley.
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