Turning the Problem of Evil On Its Head

The existence of evil is one of the most powerful arguments against theism (and particularly Christianity): how can an all-powerful, all-loving God permit evil in His Creation?

I think that there are two important responses to make to this. First, that Christianity can answer this problem. Second, this argument requires the existence of God, because it starts from the self-evident fact that objective good and evil exist. Without God, you can’t have objective morality; and without objective morality, you can’t claim that this world has evil.

I address this (mostly the second point) in greater depth in a post that Strange Notions has reposted today. Check it out!

10 Comments

  1. Our minds scream for order in this world. There is no order in atheism, just nothingness and meaninglessness. Our humanity craves significance and dignity in this world. If there is no creator there are no objective moral standards and everything is merely a personal preference.

    Most atheists are really agnostics and don’t want to admit the likelihood of a creator of humanity that demands to be worshipped and followed. God made us and there’s a part of him in all humans. Maybe that’s why we all have a tendency to want to be our own God. You can’t remove heat from friction just like you can’t remove the effect of God’s spark.

    The biggest question that I still deal with us why does God allow sinful man to exist? The answer is love for us and yet with my human mind i can’t love or comprehend love at such a level for so many undeserving (myself included).

    Great post and topic.

  2. I think your argument rests on crucial misunderstandings–such as that the position that morality depends upon God is objectivist.

    There are good reasons most moral philosophers reject the idea that morality depends on God. Perhaps we could give them a test run in a debate.

  3. Ah, great. Well, I had something like the following in mind. If you’re also, or more, interested in debating God’s existence or Jesus’ resurrection, I’m game.

    Resolution: “Resolved: objective morality does not depend on God’s existence.”

    Affirmative: Steven
    Negative: Joe

    Speeches:

    1. Affirmative Opening Statement: Steven gives a 2,000 word (or less) defense of the resolution.

    2. Negative Opening Statement: Joe gives a 2,000 word (or less) attack on the resolution.

    3. Affirmative Rebuttal: Steven gives a 2,000 word (or less) rebuttal.

    4. Negative Rebuttal: Joe gives a 2,000 word (or less) rebuttal.

    5. Affirmative Closing Statement: Steven surmises the debate and explains why the resolution stands in 2,000 word or less.

    6. Negative Closing Statement: Joe surmises and explains why the resolution is defeated in 2,000 words or less.

    As to where the speeches get posted, perhaps we could post them over at strange notions? What do you think?

    1. Philothumper,

      I like the topic and the format (although I’d be fine with either of your alternatives, if you prefer). My only suggestion is that you define terms in your first post (or at least, what you mean to affirm by “objective truth”). That seems like an obvious point, but a lot of debates go sideways because of a failure to do this.

      If you’d like, I can talk to Brandon Vogt about putting this up on Strange Notions, and I’d be more than happy to have it cross-posted here (and, if you would like on your blog). God bless!

      I.X.,

      Joe

    2. An additional thought: would you want to make some sort of provision for cross-examination in the comments (e.g., providing a limited number and length for questions and answers, to make sure it stays manageable?). I’m fine either way.

      I.X.,

      Joe

  4. Oh kewl, would you mind speaking to Vogt? That’d be great! Yeah feel free to post it here, I may over at my blog as well. I’m open to even doing a few debates, pending schedules etc.

    Yeah, a cross-examination would be good. Hm, how about we add 500 words to rebuttals and closing statements: 250 word max for each question and answer?

    1. Steven,

      I talked to Brandon – he likes the idea, and we’ve talked about ways to fine-tune it (e.g., changing the resolution to an affirmative proposition, like “Resolved: Objective morality depends upon the existence of God” or “Resolved: Objective morality exists apart from God.”)

      Do you want to e-mail me directly, at [email protected], and we can hammer out any needed details?

      God bless!

      Joe

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