Atheism and the Problem of Evil

Introduction

There are few better challenges to the existence of benevolent and powerful gods than the ancient and unanswerable Problem of Evil (also called the Problem of Suffering). Many believers and apologists have tried to answer it but it has always proved impossible for those who posit not merely a God with the power to fix human suffering but a God who possesses omnipotence and not merely a good and beneficent God but one who is omnibenevolent. A God with such characteristics collapses under the observation of agonizing and often very needless suffering of people in our world today.

This does not stop apologists, of course, from proposing excuses that get their God out of his moral obligations to prevent the needless suffering of human beings or even those that cause God to relinquish his all powerful status and be beholden to the supposed Free Will of flawed and sinful human beings. In this hub I want to talk about the Problem of Evil a bit more in-depth and touch upon a fairly new apologetic answer to the Problem of Evil, namely simply restating it as if its a problem for atheists as well.

Get ready guys, this is going to be a long one, a lot of unpacking to do on these ideas...

God's Problem

First thing's first, what is the problem? Well the basic issue is that if we look around at our world we see horrendous things happening all the time. Floods, droughts, earthquakes, bone cancer in children, starvation and the list can go on and on. So if there is some all loving Father figure above it all looking in on we his beloved children why is Earth so neglected and forsaken? If God has the goodness to see evil and stop it but cannot than he is not all powerful. If God has the power to step in and stop suffering and evil but refuses than we cannot call him all loving.

This dilemma dates back thousands of years and though for at least that long religious apologists have proffered excuses on the behalf of various gods none has sufficiently answered this question. Even today apologists write books and give talks about why good things happen to the wicked and suffering befalls the innocent or the upright. And these excuses are not all alike, different excuses satisfy different forms of suffering or excuse God from different forms of responsibility.

Part of the reason there is no reasonable answer is because the dilemma is meant to be unanswerable. It is meant to say that if there is a god or gods that we can rule out the idea of that being or beings possessing both a great deal of supernatural power and a great and deep sense of love and empathy for the human species. It is not an argument for abject atheism because a god, perhaps an incompetent, evil, disinterested or impotent one, could still exist. But given our every day experience any god that exists simply cannot be all loving (in regards to human beings) and omnipotent.

Monotheism of the kind put forth by most denominations of Christianity is a stillborn faith in the face of the suffering we see all around us across the world.

Surely God could do something to help these people right?
Surely God could do something to help these people right?
Source
If God cannot accomplish his goals without suffering than he is not All Powerful. If he can but chooses not to than he is not omnibenevolent.
If God cannot accomplish his goals without suffering than he is not All Powerful. If he can but chooses not to than he is not omnibenevolent. | Source

Four Excuses for God

While there are more than four explanations given for needless suffering by the faithful I am going to go over what I feel are the four main often repeated excuses before I go into the fifth excuse which is simply to push the Problem of Evil on atheists.

God Uses Suffering:

This first excuse takes on several different forms but all of those forms boil down to the same basic idea, that God has SOME incomprehensibly wise and utterly reasonable reason for allowing suffering.

Now some folks who use this excuse claim that God uses suffering to punish the wickedness of we fallen human beings. While not common this view holds that things like Hurricanes, disease epidemics and Tsunamis are God's way of scaring human beings back into submission under his ruling thumb. God is, in a sense, warning the world that if they do not change their ways he will send even more disasters and wipe out even more human life. Of course showing such blatant disregard to hundreds of thousands of human beings paints God as even more monstrous than if he merely stood back and let those disasters took place with a dispassionate shrug.

It cannot be overlooked that many of those who die in these disasters are the most innocent among us, the young. But of course if your worldview is that all human beings are corrupt and evil from birth you can even excuse God of directly murdering children with such disasters, especially if you imagine it serves some great Cosmic purpose.

Others will say that God uses individual suffering to bring people closer to him. Is there no other way for God to strengthen the faith of people he loves than to, say, take their child from them at a young age or wipe out half their town with a tornado or have them get into a devastating car wreck and be paralyzed? If this is God's best idea for bringing people back to the fold how can we call God all powerful? After all if he was all powerful it certainly wouldn't take some horrible suffering to get people to commune with him, millions of people pray every single day, all God has to do to endear these people to him is show up in their lives. If the way God decides to show up is by giving your kid Leukemia so that you turn back to him than I'm sorry but God is a total asshole.

And the weakest part of this excuse is when believers just say, 'who are you to question God? How do you know for certain that he does not have a good reason for suffering?'

God Uses Suffering?

Who are we human beings to question God about suffering and evil in the world around us? It's obvious isn't it? We're the ones who suffer. God, an immortal and perfect being, cannot possibly suffer any real loss. The closest God might get is when Jesus suffered on the Cross but of course God knew that on Sunday morning he was going to pop Jesus back to life and bring his son back to Heaven. But for we mortals we don't have such assurances, we can't be sure there is something after death and in fact every shred of credible scientific evidence suggests that death is the end and there is no afterlife or soul.

In the story book of the Bible when God saw Jesus buried he would have had no reason to fret because he was set to bring Jesus back on the third day. But when a human parent buries their child, even if they delude themselves with uncertain and fantastically unrealistic hopes of an afterlife, the emptiness remains, the pain lingers and the grief is real. To tell those people that God is using this suffering, orchestrating it to achieve some petty goal for his own glory, is an absolutely disgusting and immoral thing.

Any good thing an omnipotent God plans to achieve with suffering can be achieved without said suffering, otherwise that God is not all powerful.

The Free Will Excuse

Probably the most common and weakest excuse of the four is the notion that human suffering is the result of human free will and that, starting with Adam and Eve's decision to follow the serpent's advice in Eden, all suffering stems from sinful behavior. The first and most obvious flaw is that unlike the first excuse I talked about this one shirks off God's responsibility for allowing suffering to take place. God is, apparently, no longer the most responsible party in the whole Universe and things like diseases, epidemics and disasters can run amuck without any special permission from God but also with God doing nothing at all to stop these things from killing the human beings he loves.

The idea that God gave rulership of Earth to human beings is a fairly common one but showing that there is a causal link between sin and suffering is another matter entirely. For one thing it does nothing to explain why the righteous suffer except by way of condemning all humanity as being unrighteous and corrupt from birth. But if that is the case what reason does God have to abide our evil and fallen ways? Oh right, because God loves us.

Well this begs the question WHY does God love us? Does he have a choice in the matter? Is God capable of ceasing his love of humanity or is it such a strong part of his nature that he is powerless against it? Because if God is powerless against his omnibenevolence than he is not omnipotent. If human beings are so wicked, so corrupt, so horrible, that our sins are causing typhoons and plagues, why doesn't God do SOMETHING about it?

If one takes the view that human beings are so fundamentally FUBAR that we can cause famines just by having sex with someone God tells us not to or cause Hurricanes with abortions at the very least we'd expect God to do SOMETHING. Which leads to the question of why God doesn't remove the sin nature from his creation. And note that removing the sin nature is not a violation of Free Will, for Adam and Eve had no knowledge of sin and yet certainly Christians believe they had Free Will – And angels have enough Free Will in Heaven to apparently rebel against God yet they are not generally corrupt or sinful.

As I've had to repeat Free Will is also a fundamental imperfection – its a design flaw. Christians often assert that Adam and Eve were perfect beings BUT had Free Will. This simply doesn't make sense. For one thing no Christian in their right mind would argue that Adam and Eve were as perfect as God was, they would never admit to such a thing. So how can there be differing levels of perfection? It seems they mean to suggest that Adam and Eve are merely perfect in the sense that they have not yet been corrupted, which is a meaningless and misleading usage of the word perfect.

If you believe in Free Will than the WHOLE point of it is to allow human beings to make choices independent of God. If Free Will exists disobedience is inevitable so for God to allow such a design flaw to run so rampant that it starts causing things like malaria, the spanish flu or the bubonic plague causes God to fall victim to the Problem of Evil once more. And I won't even go into the fact that the Bible says God cursed his perfect creation thus creating disease and the venom of serpents and the pain of child birth and that responsibility for the fallen nature of creation rests on God's shoulders (and how could it not?).

Free Will Excuse Cont...

The other version of the Free Will excuse doesn't tackle natural disasters or disease as part of Free Will but rather attempts to explain only why God doesn't intervene in the case of things like murder. Obviously God could value human Free Will above that of human pain and suffering. However God is omnipotent and omnibenevolent and, importantly, omnipresent. Which means that wherever a murder or a rape are taking place God is standing there doing nothing and giving preferential treatment to the Free Will of a murderer or rapist rather than to the will of the victim. This to me is at the very least callous and stupid and at the worst a very evil thing.

Imagine if a police officer had foreknowledge of a crime and went to the dark alley where it was going to take place and then just stood there without intervention. When questioned as to why he allowed the crime to take place he simply answers: “I didn't want to violate anyone's Free Will.”

Was it not said that all it takes for evil men to triumph is for good men to do nothing? What is God but the most benevolent and powerful man conceivable? And worst of all for this excuse most religious texts DO have God intervene on the behalf of the characters in those books.

Would a Biblical apologist truly sit there with a straight face and use the Free Will excuse while believing that Moses' life was directly altered by contact with a burning bush? What can be said about Moses' Free Will? Or that of the Apostle Paul struck blind on the way to Damascus by a vision of Christ – what can be said for the Free Will of those called by God – or those punished by him. So it seems that most of these Gods contravene human free will quite frequently in the founding documents of their corresponding religions and most believers DO believe that God still intervenes.

To quote Bart Ehrman “if God does intervene – WHY DOESN'T HE?”


God has heard the plight of his people in Egypt... hmm sure looks like he's about to violate some FREE WILL
God has heard the plight of his people in Egypt... hmm sure looks like he's about to violate some FREE WILL

It Will All Work Out in the End

The third excuse I want to talk about doesn't really give an answer as to why God allows suffering but rather admits ignorance as to the ultimate reason. The excuse instead appeals to the idea that no matter how bad everything looks now it will all, whether in some far flung future or always a day away apocalypse, work out in the end. Often times when I was a Christian I heard this excuse spouted as the Bible verse from Romans 8 “All things work together for good to those who love God...”

But of course one need only look around them to see that, at least in the short-term of thousands and thousands and thousands of years of human history, this is simply NOT the case. Imagine yourself back in time during the Inquisitions watching your fellow Christians be persecuted by the Catholic Church for simply believing a different version of Christianity and saying to yourself, “well God will be around any day now to sort all this out.”

It's simply not a satisfying answer. For one thing the day of judgment, the day of justice, never comes, despite thousands of years of doomsday predictions no saviors from the sky have ever descended to set things right. Similar to the excuse that those innocent who suffer needlessly will go to Heaven to be with God this answer shirks God's responsibility in favor of unrealistic and uncertain hope. Eventually it will all make sense. Some day you will be able to ask God in Heaven.

Is God unwilling to offer us an answer now? Why is he abstaining from bringing about justice? And please don't say its to wait for the Gospel to spread, not only has the Gospel message already spread and peaked but it is now in a steady decline as it shatters into ever more denominations while Islam, Agnosticism and Atheism grow in numbers.

Imagine for a moment a member of your family was murdered and the judge came out and said, “I'm going to let the murderer go free but rest assured that some day in the far distant future I will punish him. Don't worry that he's getting away with it now.” Of course this Christian excuse pushes justice not just into the far realm of our own present lifetimes but into an afterlife or Armageddon scenario that it has no evidence for and thus no business promising to us.

Never mind those thousands of children that God could have fed, as he feeds the sparrows of the air, they're in Heaven with God right now. If God truly loved them and had a plan for their lives why was it God's decision to allow them to starve to death? Why not simply have them be still-born and go right to Heaven that way? Why allow them to be born, to learn, to grow, to hope and dream, only to suffer and die when the crops fail and the rains dry up? If God had a plan for their lives that didn't involve their starvation why did he fail in carrying it out? How does an all powerful God fail and then shrug off the failure as someone or something else's fault?

It simply does not, and by the nature of the Problem of Evil, cannot, be excused.



Satan is Lord of Earth

Similar to excuse number 2 this is another one that tries to pretend that God is not ultimately in control of everything that goes on on Earth. No God's not in charge of Earth, of course not stupid, Satan is. God has rented out the Earth to Satan for some inexplicable contrived reason that makes no sense. Of course the idea that God is working with Satan toward some final goal throws God's omnibenevolence out the window. After all teaming up with what is supposedly the most evil being in existence makes little sense for an all loving being to do.

But maybe it's not a team up, they say, but merely God is using Satan's control of Earth to achieve his own goals. This suggests, however, that God isn't able to achieve his goals without the horrible suffering that he's allowing Satan to unleash and if God isn't able to do something than he isn't all powerful anymore. As an omnipotent being God would achieve things in the most perfect and most efficient way possible and only an idiot would say that childhood cancer and F5 tornadoes are the most efficient way for God to show his love or achieve his purposes – unless those purposes are evil.

In the end the most common monotheistic worldview is that God is the creator of and Lord of the entire Universe. So there simply is no intellectually honest way to weasel God out of this responsibility without giving up either his benevolence or some amount of his power.

The Problem of Evil... for ATHEISTS?

Now finally we can deal with the whole reason this hub exists, a new apologetic trend that I've noticed which rather than offer a coherent answer to the problem of evil casts the problem right back at atheists. After all how do atheists account for horrific suffering that we go through? If there is no ultimate purpose or higher power how can we comfort those who suffer or offer them any hope that everything will work out in the end?

Of course this laughably misguided tactic fails to realize that for most atheists there is no reason to think that we are guaranteed that everything will “work out in the end.” In fact human experience universally tells us that things do not always work out, for ourselves, for our families and for people all over the world. And not just people, but animals as well. If you were to go back in time and try to explain to a dinosaur that God was going to work things out to benefit his creation it would make little sense as an asteroid impact wiped out nearly all dinosaur species with the only survivors being the bird-like theropods who evolved into modern day birds. We know that extinctions occur and we know that individual tragedies occur.

Indeed this is exactly the sort of thing we would expect to see if there were no gods and this is where this trick breaks down and becomes laughable. Atheism is the disbelief in gods. So imagine a world where there are no gods, where the only things governing the world are flawed human societies and governments and natural phenomenon. There is no intervention coming from supernatural forces because there are no supernatural forces. There is no miracle or punishment coming from God because there is no God.

Rather suffering is the result of natural processes. Disease is caused by germs or genetic abnormalities. The climate of our planet can be hectic and destructive. The molten nature of the inside of our planet causes the crust to be littered with fault-lines that quake and volcanoes that spew lava and ash. In other words the atheist worldview takes reality as it is and does not sugar coat it with false hopes or false superstitious fears of the workings of some demonic or celestial force behind it all.

So the Problem of Evil for atheists such as myself is not why suffering occurs - we all know why it does and it has nothing to do with magic – but is how can we use our intellect and empathy to prevent what suffering we can and cope with what suffering we can't prevent. We, human beings, are not omnibenevolent or omnipotent, we are obviously limited in what we can do to stop suffering and to prevent the wicked from doing bad things to others.

Atheists skip the nonsense about supernatural intervention and get right to the “how can we mitigate human suffering” step of the puzzle. No Messiah is coming to rescue us and so we must develop new methods and new technologies to help combat disease, predict or prevent natural disasters, feed the hungry and help the impoverished and hunt down and stop criminals, terrorists and other sociopathic or deluded people who would harm us.

And luckily, believers are willing to help make the world a better place. They prove themselves either more powerful or more benevolent than their God and they reach out to their fellow human beings. The difference is that atheists do not offer the false hope of an afterlife in some mythic kingdom in the clouds. What good is a false hope? Why would we cruelly and openly lie to someone who was grieving or suffering about some supernatural promise we have no good reason to believe has even the slightest plausibility?

Conclusion

The solution I, as an atheist offer, is that we should make the world a better place and organize ourselves and our society in such a way that it does work out in the end for as many people as possible. Setting ourselves up for prosperity, for health, for happiness and mitigating human suffering is a noble and laudable goal and although there are no gods willing to step in and suspend reality on our behalf we have the intelligence and empathetic wisdom to move forward on our own. We don't need the false hopes, we don't need the broken excuses, and as nice a fantasy as it would be to believe we don't need your fictitious God.

The Problem of Evil is a problem for all of us, sure enough, but for atheists it is a starting point to work to prevent suffering and make the world a better place – to better control the chaos and pain that comes as a natural result of life on a pale blue insignificant dot in an endless Cosmic ocean. Whereas for believers it is usually taken as an invitation to begin hollow excuse making for a being that refuses to answer for its own in-actions or reveal any evidence of its presence at all.

Thanks for reading!

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Comments 25 comments

Buildreps profile image

Buildreps 17 months ago from Europe

Great Hub! Interesting that you covered almost everything in this lengthy Hub. I agree with your logic that God simply cannot exist in the way Abrahamists imagine. There are too many illogicalities for this.

You rightly point out that God is evil, like Satan, Jaldaboath or the Demiurge or whatever name you want to give this evil entity that rules the human spirit on earth.

To reject any external deity, is very wise, but to become an atheist, is as illogical as becoming an Abrahamist. Atheism is a faith position as well.

Preventing suffering is the best start though!


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 17 months ago from back in the lab again Author

Thanks Buildreps.

Atheism is not a faith position. Atheism is the disbelief in gods. It does not take faith to disbelieve in bigfoot, fairies or Santa Claus either so it cannot require faith to disbelieve in gods.

I reject all man-made gods but I also reject the term god as I feel it is useless. The term has been redefined so many times, to cover everything from Zeus, to Jesus, to love, to the Universe itself that it has become a worthless term. If we did find out that a god existed we wouldn't want to call it one because we'd be lumping it in with thousands of fictional god concepts.


Link10103 profile image

Link10103 17 months ago

I agree.

If we ever find out a god exists, just call it Chuck Norris Jr.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 17 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

"the atheist worldview takes reality as it is and does not sugar coat it with false hopes or false superstitious fears of the workings of some demonic or celestial force behind it all."

And that, as they say, is that! People that put their faith in religious pipe dreams are just using false hope to get through their whole lives. It's better to try to live within the laws of the natural world and learn to be adults that can work together to solve real problems.

Why sit around all glassy-eyed waiting on some sky-father to make the world a better place when he/she/it is obviously NOT going to do that?


SirDent 17 months ago

Got through part of it. You poison the minds of your readers with the way you use your words. No one can pay much attention to this unless they already agree with you. They will cheer you on as a champion because it is in their hearts to do so.

Let's look at what the eradication of evil might look like. No more starving children, no rape, no stealing, no murders, no thoughts of any kind or type outside of thoughts of good. This means you cannot fantasize about anything or even use your imagination.

If God, took away all evil there is, everyone would be a robot. Too many want God to be all fluff and use Him like a credit card. That isn't going to happen. Everyone has a choice to make, FREEWILL, whether to listen to God or not.

You, and others, want God to take care of the problem when he already did so. He gave the best He has so that all might come to Him. Problem solved.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 17 months ago from back in the lab again Author

"No more starving children, no rape, no stealing, no murders, no thoughts of any kind or type outside of thoughts of good."

Is this not EXACTLY what believers believe eternity in Heaven will be like? Because it is exactly the sort of thing I was taught, as a child, that heaven would be like. No more tears, no sadness, no struggle, no war, no crime, no pain.

Part of the problem may be that you misunderstand the Problem of Evil/Suffering. We're not dealing with evil thoughts or minor evils or minor sufferings. For myself as an atheist there is no evil with a capital E out there, evil is a word used to describe a set of behaviors and intentions that cause harm to the well being of other people and which have no benefit. The more harm the more evil those behaviors are. In my worldview there is no such thing as an EVIL thought, although there are "evil intentions" they are only taken into account when an action accompanies them.

I do not want God to take care of anything SIrDent. I don't think there is a God, I think WE human beings must take care of it. I think you would have seen that if you read my hub in its entirety.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 17 months ago from back in the lab again Author

Precisely Austinstar, there is a reason they say hands that help are better than lips that pray. There are no supernatural forces coming to our rescue anytime soon so we have to make the best of it on our own.


Link10103 profile image

Link10103 17 months ago

So god doesnt completely eliminate evil from the world because everything would be boring? Speaking of poisoning minds...

Personally I dont see how removing evil from the equation would suddenly render us all robots and unable to use our imagination. Seems like a rather huge leap in logic.

" He gave the best He has so that all might come to Him. Problem solved."

I guess thats why there is only one religion and one god in all mankind's history. No wait...


SirDent 17 months ago

I understand the problem of evil and suffering. I know where it comes from and the cause of all of it. What you don't understand is that God made provisions for everyone to not have to go through it. But WE, fail to recognize God and believe what he did for us.

AS said, "People that put their faith in religious pipe dreams are just using false hope to get through their whole lives."

Her statement is definitive. While she says she cannot prove God does not exist, she makes a statement based on faith, which is definitive, or absolute truth. In fact, most atheists I have come across are the same. They take things on faith, and also just give their opinions with no proof or reasoning behind their beliefs.

Link said, "Personally I dont see how removing evil from the equation would suddenly render us all robots and unable to use our imagination. Seems like a rather huge leap in logic."

What would equate as non evil thoughts? Imagining or fantasizing about a woman or a man that you have a crush on? That goes against the commandment of God.

The leap in logic is saying that it is all a fantasy. A person would have to know everything there is to make that statement as an absolute. Now it is a matter of opinion, on your part. Until you can prove to me it is a fantasy, you cannot make that statement with honesty.


Link10103 profile image

Link10103 17 months ago

" Until you can prove to me it is a fantasy, you cannot make that statement with honesty."

I am going to assume you mean that as a general statement rather than directly to me, and I would have to say I couldnt agree more.

Of course the opposite applies as well.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 17 months ago from back in the lab again Author

"and also just give their opinions with no proof or reasoning behind their beliefs."

I think that I have offered plenty of reasoning behind my beliefs and disbeliefs if you look at my hubs SirDent. In fact if you look at MOST of the vocal atheists they offer their reasoning and their counter-arguments against the existence of God. If every single proof FOR the existence of God fails and no evidence is found that is a pretty resounding collective reason to disbelieve.

If God is defined clearly enough we can disprove specific God concepts to within a good degree of certainty, this includes the Biblical God Yahweh, as well as Zeus, Odin, Ahura Mazda, and any other deities that are defined in such a way that their existence can be amply investigated and falsified. So no, when I say the Biblical God, as described by believers and by the Bible, does not exist, it is not a statement of faith but one based upon logic and evidence. Of course this doesn't disprove ALL gods, they need to be investigated on a case by case basis.

"That goes against the commandment of God."

So in your view it is okay for God to punish people and get angry at people for breaking his commands but NOT okay for God to create people who are unable to break his commands? Even though God, according to you, made people specifically so that they COULD have their own free will? What is the point of making imperfect beings with free will and then punishing them when they don't turn out perfect? Seems MUCH more questionable than if God had made morally perfect beings who are incapable of sin. In fact if that was the world God had created we would be sinless and have no idea anything was wrong, you seem to think that rape and murder make the world a better place by also allowing fantasy, imagination and such. Are those really the only options? Seems like a very poor argument. God could simply turn the nob on our empathy up a few factors and suddenly we'd have the same freedom of thought but care too much about each other to go through with our bad intentions - in fact mentally healthy human beings already possess a natural empathy driven REVULSION to certain behaviors, cannibalism and murder for example. So in your view is that a product of God's tampering? Because in my view, and the view of scientists, its evolutionary instinct because we're a social species that thrives in groups.

"Until you can prove to me it is a fantasy"

How much evidence do I need to show that, say, Leprechauns, are a fantasy? Is the fact that no one has ever found a shred of proof for them AND that we know their origins are in myth and folklore enough to disprove them to a reasonable degree? If you say yes than I've got bad news for you and your God. If you say no that's fine, but it means you and I have fundamentally different standards of evidence. It's not absolutely impossible for their to be Leprechauns out there somewhere but to a reasonable degree of certainty we know their aren't and until such time as overwhelming evidence points in the other direction we are entirely justified in disbelief and, yes, even in making the positive assertion that there are no Leprechauns.

I have - in my body of work here on hubpages - presented tons of counter-arguments and plenty of counter-evidence against monotheism, specifically Christianity. And many other scholars have attempted to investigate the claims of Christianity and we have not found a shred of evidence that any of its supernatural claims are true. Furthermore it bears all the hallmarks of being another fictitious religion, mythology and nothing more. And its God is a self-contradictory, immoral, logically dysfunctional, mess of a concept. I think we can KNOW that the God of the Bible is just as fictional as Zeus and all those ancient gods. No it is not ABSOLUTE certainty, I reject such a notion as absolute certainty since we are all human beings perceiving the world through flawed sensory apparatuses.

Of course you'd have to be OPEN to being proved wrong. And yes, I also must be open to being proved wrong.


SirDent 17 months ago

TS, now you are going off topic. This hub is about the God of the Bible, not those other gods you mentioned. It is easy to assume one doesn't exist if the others do not exist, just as with the leprechaun.

The evidence of God is written history. The Old Testament testifies of Him and the New Testament fulfills His prophecies. Eyewitness testimony of the works of Jesus were written and recorded.

Let's look at this logically. You say evil exists, therefore, if the God of the Bible exists, He has to be evil. Of course, you know logic does not work that way. Much the same as saying, because Christians are not perfect, God must not be real.

Now, you made the claim about God. Your case was stated, but it is only opinion on your part. No real logic to it.

I also notice that you passed judgment on God. Who gives you the right? Is it not only from your own "personal perception" that you judge Him so harshly?

I am not in the habit of reading your hubs, just so you know. I saw this one on the news feed and thought I would take a look. I was not surprised. Your anger towards God shows in every word you wrote. As I said in my first comment, the words you used here poison the reader's mind, or attempt to. I used to call them trigger words, used only to sway the mind without any evidence.

Materialistic people will never be satisfied with supernatural evidence. Seeing so many things come to pass and still you won't believe. Jesus said, "Even if someone came back from the dead, they will not believe." Such a sad state for the world to be in. It doesn't have to stay that way.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 17 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

@SirDent - Your dreams and visions of your god are EXACTLY the same as a child's dream and vision of Santa. The expectations are equal - if you are good, you get a reward, if you are bad, you get a punishment.

The evidence is also equally non-existent for both concepts as well. There is no verifiable proof for god or santa - both are mentioned in "books", both are "believed to be real" (neither are real) until you find some evidence of proving either of these supernatural claims, you are just preaching to hear yourself talk.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 17 months ago from back in the lab again Author

No SirDent

The Problem of Evil applies to ANY and ALL Gods which are both benevolent enough to want to prevent human suffering and powerful enough to do so.

The Leprechaun is an example of a mythological being which we can, to a reasonable degree, declare is fictional and the God of the Bible is no different.

"The Old Testament testifies of Him"

The Old Testament is a collection of myths, fables with moral lessons and is not considered reliable history by historians. The Gospels are written anonymously starting with Mark in the 70s CE decades and decades after Jesus' death, they are all written by Greek Scribes - and no self-respecting Biblical scholar actually thinks they are eye-witness testimony. To top that all off eye-witness testimony is among the lowest forms of evidence, so even if this eye-witness testimony it would carry no more weight than the testimony of those who see bigfoot, are abducted by aliens or who see Elvis and think he's still alive.

"You say evil exists, therefore, if the God of the Bible exists"

No I do not think evil exists in the sense you mean. Please actually read the things I say SirDent. From a few comments before this I said:

"For myself as an atheist there is no evil with a capital E out there, evil is a word used to describe a set of behaviors and intentions that cause harm to the well being of other people and which have no benefit."

Now back to your argument:

"Much the same as saying, because Christians are not perfect, God must not be real."

No, you are misunderstanding the Problem of Evil yet again! It does not state that a God cannot exist which is evil but that a God with both omnibenevolence and omnipotence is not compatible with our world because there is evil and suffering in it. An evil God COULD exist, you are right.

If God has the power and goodness to want to prevent evil why doesn't he? Of course your answer can be "because God isn't good" but after that you still need evidence that some God exists.

"Your anger towards God shows in every word you wrote."

Wrong. I can't be angry at a God who I don't believe in and, if you read to the end of the hub, you see that I am in favor of human beings uniting to stop as much suffering as we can. There are no supernatural forces to be angry at.

"Who gives you the right?"

I explained this in my hub as well. As beings who suffer we have every right to question why, this includes raising the Problem of Evil to people who believe in God.

Whether we realize it or not all human beings make moral judgments and judgments of all sorts even if we are not aware we are making them. What gives me the right to make moral judgments is that I am a being with functioning empathy and reason. When I pass judgment on God I am measuring it against basic principles of human decency and morality, it is the ONLY measure of morality that I know is reliable. So if God is condoning slavery, committing genocide and doing things that would epitomize evil if a human being did them then they are not LESS immoral for God they are MORE immoral because Christians constantly assert their God as the source of morality, as omnibenevolent, and as the ultimate good. God is not even basically good, he's not even remotely good, he does infinitely more evil things in the Bible than Satan does and the list of good things he presumably does are comparatively small and often marred by later blunders or oversights we wouldn't expect of an omnipotent perfect being.

This suggests that God is manmade, because he reflects the barbaric ancient minds that birthed him and does not in any way correspond to anything we see in reality or would expect to see of such a God.

"Materialistic people will never be satisfied with supernatural evidence"

What is supernatural evidence? Because that sounds like a "trigger word" designed to circumvent actual standards of evidence that reasonable people hold.

"Such a sad state for the world to be in. It doesn't have to stay that way."

You accuse me of presenting no arguments when I go down a list of explanations systematically showing why these evasions of the Problem of Evil make no sense and then you present emotional appeals and quotes of things Jesus said? That is your answer? That the Bible says things?

Perhaps you mean supernatural evidence as prophecy. Here are some basic criteria for a prophecy that I would expect it to be able to pass before accepting it:

It must actually be a prophecy. Not a documentation of events that is misinterpreted as a prophecy after a similar event occurs later.

It must be written before the events that it predicts.

The predicted events must actually occur.

The prediction must be both falsifiable and verifiable.

It must not be overly vague.

It must not predict a likely event.

It must not be self-fulfilling.

All Biblical prophecies fail to meet these criteria. Some, like many Messianic prophecies, aren't even prophecies at all and are misquoted by the New Testament authors (such as Matthew having Jesus bizarrely ride into town on TWO animals, a fole and an ass)


rjbatty profile image

rjbatty 17 months ago from Irvine

Most likely God is a man-made construct but perhaps a necessary one. Atheists seem to believe that mankind would operate just fine without the various dogma of religion, but we have no assurance of that.

The fact that the majority of our species still believes in one sort of supreme being or another tells us something very significant about the psychological status of our species. Perhaps, collectively, we are not yet ready to shoulder the responsibility of living a life without "sin" and require some kind of redemption. People seem to "need" the concept of God for moral guidance and as a source of solace during times of utter despair.

Science is not a substitute for religion (or more particularly faith). Science has (in many ways) illustrated how the universe can operate without the insertion of a supreme being, but it doesn't provide any kind of code of morality.

Physicists are struggling to figure out the basic construct of our universe, and some of their theories border on a kind of faith since all they may provide in dealing with the most complex of questions may boil down to mathematical equations on a black board.

When you read about multi-verses or a holographic universe, the objective mind must come to the conclusion that science may never be able to offer an adequate answer to the most baffling questions that haunt the minds of the inquisitive -- or, more importantly, the needy.

The universe may be too complex for our brains to comprehend. Everything beyond our comprehension has always seemed supernatural. Thus, I think pure atheism is akin to a kind of hubris -- a belief that we will eventually understand in detail the entire mechanism of our universe or that because we cannot currently find any evidence of a supreme being that we've hit the nail on the head.

By presenting the existence of evil in the world cannot be an honest refutation of God because we would almost need to attain a god-like state ourselves to make such a blanket assertion. In other words, we'd have to become omnipotent ourselves in order to gain full assurance that there was no other (perhaps higher) influence.

From my perspective atheism is not scientific even though it may employ many of the same kinds of reasoning and logic that are intrinsic to the community of reputable scientists. The divisiveness of atheists when it comes to the realm of the supernatural (everything we cannot yet prove or know with certainty) seems like putting the cart in front of the donkey.

It's simply not enough to debunk God because evil has a good foothold on our planet. (Why even refer to the existence of evil? The Buddhists believe we live in a dual -- yin/yang universe of opposites. If evil exists so must goodness.)

My primary point is why should atheists dismiss anything when we don't know EVERYTHING.

The great thing about true science is it never shuts a door and locks it. Honest science embraces the notion of evolution in their discoveries -- even if this means uprooting generational beliefs about how aspects of our universe operate.

The operation of our universe might very well work without what we might conceive as a human kind of ultimate consciousness. I'm willing to hold off all bets because what we are able to conceive of consciousness may transcend our capabilities. Human suffering may not have an individualistic purpose but we cannot prove that it doesn't.

In my own mind, I don't know why there is anything? The universe probably had some kind of beginning but why? More importantly, why did life ever originate? None of this HAD to happen. The void could have just remained a void, but it didn't. Is it all just some part of meaningless process -- stuff originates out of nowhere and on some planets this thing we call life germinates? If so it's extremely odd that any species of life within the cosmos should evolve to a point of self-consciousness and begin to wonder about these probably un-resolvable questions.

Creation may just be part of an unknowable process. Life may just be a fluke. On a scientific level, I can accept this. But many, many others seek a deeper meaning. I think it is this inherit lack of obvious meaning to existence that God was created in the imaginations of men. Man certainly evolved from fairly simple, animal-like creatures, yet their consciousness evolved at least at an equal pace. Is our consciousness still evolving? I like to think so. Perhaps some day we will evolve (consciously) into beings that no longer rely upon myth or superstition and just simply remain open-minded about all possibilities -- however fantastical they may seem.

We have no measuring stick for gauging the value of religion and moral teachings vs. the harm the same might have caused the civilization. Not everyone receives a formal education -- and even those who do are not required to attend a class in comparative religions nor are they required to take any classes that deal strictly with the issue of morality.

Even if God only exists as an existential reality, his significance is not something easily set aside. If man created God, that is certainly for a reason. Elements of the numinous play a tremendous role in our collective unconsciousness, and attempts to dismiss them as bogus always seem to evade the greater question of why they hold such a command and power over the individual.

To simply say God was created to shift the burden and responsibility of coping with evil from ourselves onto the dictates of a fictional entity may be entirely true but overlooks (from a psychological standpoint) why this transference had to occur.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 17 months ago from back in the lab again Author

@rjbatty

“Atheists seem to believe that mankind would operate just fine without the various dogma of religion, but we have no assurance of that”

You're right on some level however the track record of most religions is enough to suggest that, at the very least, we don't need certain types of religion. Perhaps there is some helpfulness is philosophical religions such as Buddhism, Confucianism or Taoism. It has never been my position that religion has no benefits at all, merely that the negatives far outweigh the benefits.

I certainly see religions like Islam and Christianity as having a corrosive effect on morality, not a positive one.

“but it doesn't provide any kind of code of morality.”

You are right but I am not arguing that we should substitute one thing, science, for religion or religious morality. I don't think science needs to have any opinion on morality other than whatever rules of ethics is used internally to conduct science. Rather morality, ethics, is a separate issue, an issue for social “scientists” perhaps but not a completely objective matter.

I think people can be more moral without religion but you might be right that they will not have supernatural hopes to see them through despair if they give up faith. This can be a very difficult thing to get over. In my own journey out of religion I spent a while believing in reincarnation but NOT believing there were any gods simply because of fear of death. I did not want to admit that death was the end and so held onto my beliefs in the supernatural even when they were not justified.

“and some of their theories border on a kind of faith”

The keyword is a KIND of faith. Its not the same thing as religious faith and of course scientists go where the evidence lead. So something like Dark Matter and Dark energy may completely mysterious but there is at least concrete evidence that there is something there even if we don't fully understand what it is yet.

“The universe may be too complex for our brains to comprehend.”

Now this is a very interesting topic, one that I could go on and on about. In science there is this thing called the Anthropic Principle which is the realization that we are minds which arose in a Universe that is comprehensible to our minds... but my version is the Misanthropic Principle, where we can get a grasp on some things but ultimate reality will always elude us due to limitations of our brains.

“a belief that we will eventually understand in detail the entire mechanism of our universe or that because we cannot currently find any evidence of a supreme being that we've hit the nail on the head.”

No no no Rj. Atheism is a rejection of theistic claims – it is disbelief in gods. If someone says, “Do you believe there is a god or gods” and your answer is “no I don't believe that” than you are an atheist. I do not subscribe to the idea that we will ever fully understand the Universe OR the idea that because we haven't found anything supernatural that it absolutely doesn't exist. However I do hold that science is the best way human beings have yet invented to learn reliable (note I said reliable, not absolute) truths about our Cosmos and that we cannot simply be intellectually lazy and try to squeeze the supernatural into any pocket of ignorance that remains at the frontier of our understanding.

“In other words, we'd have to become omnipotent ourselves in order to gain full assurance that there was no other (perhaps higher) influence.”

Not sure what you mean by this. However omnipotence is an interesting trait, because there is no way to prove that a being is omnipotent. It can't actually be proved, only disproved. Even if a being could move galaxies around with a mere thought or conjure a dozen Universes on a Tuesday Afternoon we'd still be no closer to saying it was omnipotent and that a more powerful being simply couldn't exist.

“From my perspective atheism is not scientific”

I agree. Science follows methodological naturalism, not philosophical naturalism.

“My primary point is why should atheists dismiss anything when we don't know EVERYTHING”

This has me scratching my head, seems like a total non-sequitur. Simply because we don't know everything doesn't mean we don't know some things to a good degree of certainty. I think most modern people would say that we know, for example, that Zeus doesn't exist, to a fairly good degree of certainty. O sure its not impossible for him to be up on Olympus right now but we can say, with a good deal of confidence, that Zeus is fictional, manmade. I think the same holds for the Biblical God.

I'll try to get to the rest of your comment later, Rj, this reply is already going long.


rjbatty profile image

rjbatty 17 months ago from Irvine

Fundamentally, we are on the same track. I just want to expand upon my statement "why should atheists dismiss anything when we don't know everything." It is not a non-sequitur, as you suggest. The remark is a corollary to my basic point that a position of non-belief in God is still a belief. While science provides a more realistic framework for the machinations of the universe, the universe itself remains a huge mystery -- one where honest scientists have to admit may be beyond our range of full comprehension. I agree that science is probably leading us to a more rational realization of our cosmos, but at the outer edges of the micro/macro universe we still remain in a kind of infancy of understanding. With sufficient time, many mysteries may be cataloged as "understood -- subject to newer discoveries." If the basic principles of science leave the door wide open to new discoveries, why would anyone place their feet firmly on the ground and argue that God does not exist? You can only imagine a world where people did not believe in God and assume that faith-based civilizations would be better off without affiliating themselves with one interpretation of God or another, but this is merely speculative. No one can argue against the horrors committed in the name/quest for their god. This is all a matter of history. But can we honestly imagine a world where no one had a doctrine-based center? Would the consequences be less horrific? It's a subject of mere speculation because we only know certain facts about a world where religions collided. One cannot simply assume that man has some intrinsic moral base that would prevent him from committing atrocities even worse than those exposed through our history of faith-based conflicts. We have nothing to compare one against the other. Simply by exposing myths as myths does little or nothing to discredit the creation of God and the continued belief in him -- fictional or otherwise. Something more is going on -- something more powerful than the actual existence of a God -- something transcendent. For me, an agnostic, the existence or non-existence of God is an irrelevancy because I believe that every individual has the capacity to experience the numinous and transcendent. Science may eventually be able to label and file all this and stuff it into a file cabinet, but I don't think so. Just as science will always be fluctuating on its extrapolations about our "known" universe, I see the same when it comes to the examination of the individual psyche. We seem to be born with certain, unassailable archetypes that must be embedded in our collective unconscious for some kind of survival purpose. Most atheists have a personal grudge against the very notion of a God -- something personal that alienated them against any kind of personal identification with an unfathomable universe. I had my own falling out but later came to realize there was no bonus in discrediting a thing that man could only best describe as a god. If God only exists in the minds of men then he is real -- as much as your television set or the couch you sit upon. Our education is not dependent on whether or not God truly exists but why he was invented in the first place and what significance it plays in our underlying unconscious selves.


Say Yes To Life profile image

Say Yes To Life 17 months ago from Big Island of Hawaii

Titen-Sxull - you have done an EXCELLENT job on this hub!

The thing people of all faiths need to realize is that the Laws of Cause and Effect apply to everyone, regardless. It really is up to us to figure things out. Religions are merely attempts to explain the unexplainable; when scientific discoveries prove otherwise, we need to let go of the superstitions. Otherwise, we risk being brainwashed into a CULT.


Claire Evans profile image

Claire Evans 17 months ago from South Africa

I know you did bring up Satan in this argument. However, people underestimate the power of Satan. His powers were not given to him by God. If it wasn't for Jesus, Satan would be the more powerful one to take our souls. Yes, He is willing to prevent evil but humanity has chosen to do Satan's will. They have actually given the power to Satan and have taken it away from God. If one truly loves Christ, however, God is unstoppable.

By asking God to prevent evil, it's like following your child everywhere and making sure he/she doesn't make decisions on his own lest he does something evil or commits evil. It's like asking a child to be put into a glass box. If God did that, He be considered a tyrant. To make us into robots so we can't do evil. If we does give us free will, then He suddenly is responsible for the evil because He could have prevented it. God is always the bad guy.

Is God willing and able to prevent evil? To stop that, He'd have to put us all in a box so we can't choose. He can do that but would you be happy about that? It is humanity that has chosen to serve Satan. Therefore God cannot prevent evil in this world when we are responsible for it.

The question of, "Why call Him God?" is due to a complete lack of understanding about who God is.

"Well the basic issue is that if we look around at our world we see horrendous things happening all the time. Floods, droughts, earthquakes, bone cancer in children, starvation and the list can go on and on. "

It's a corrupted world. It is not only God that had a hand in creation. Satan has, too.

"So if there is some all loving Father figure above it all looking in on we his beloved children why is Earth so neglected and forsaken?"

You assume that God just looks on and does nothing. He works through people who respond to Him to help alleviate suffering. In the lives of those who love Him, He is far from looking down at us. I know this from experience. It doesn't mean I'm exempt from suffering but I know that when I do, it is because there is a reason for it. It refines me as a person.

"Now some folks who use this excuse claim that God uses suffering to punish the wickedness of we fallen human beings. "

That is simply not true. As you say, there are innocent people who would suffer from this punishment. No, our sin has given Satan the power to cause suffering.

"Others will say that God uses individual suffering to bring people closer to him. Is there no other way for God to strengthen the faith of people he loves than to, say, take their child from them at a young age or wipe out half their town with a tornado or have them get into a devastating car wreck and be paralyzed?"

There's a difference between using suffering and actually being the cause of it. He doesn't take anyone's child away from them. He doesn't cause tornados and the lot. However, suffering can spiritually refine a person. I was watching a documentary on a devastating earthquake. One said He didn't realize what life was about until he lost everything. Family to him is the most important thing. In the past, it was about him. Now it is about others. If Jesus had not suffered on earth, none of us would be saved. He would be looking out for His own interests and not the people. If one has not suffered, they cannot have compassion because compassion comes from identifying with one's suffering.

"Who are we human beings to question God about suffering and evil in the world around us? It's obvious isn't it? We're the ones who suffer. God, an immortal and perfect being, cannot possibly suffer any real loss. The closest God might get is when Jesus suffered on the Cross but of course God knew that on Sunday morning he was going to pop Jesus back to life and bring his son back to Heaven. "

God prefers someone to ask, "Why did you allow this person to suffer?" rather than, "Thank God it's not me who is suffering. The latter question is indicative of someone who cares. God is the one who suffers the most. The cross was easy comparable to the hell He went through. It was not a case of dying and then going to heaven. He descended into hell to take on all the evil and suffering in the world. No one could endure that sort of suffering. And even though Jesus is reunited with the Father now, His suffering has not stopped. He shares in our suffering.

"To tell those people that God is using this suffering, orchestrating it to achieve some petty goal for his own glory, is an absolutely disgusting and immoral thing."

It's not about using suffering so that God can have all the glory. It is about using suffering to spiritually refine us to make us better people. What kind of people would we be if we never suffered? Shallow and self centred and those are the people we don't respect.

"The first and most obvious flaw is that unlike the first excuse I talked about this one shirks off God's responsibility for allowing suffering to take place. God is, apparently, no longer the most responsible party in the whole Universe and things like diseases, epidemics and disasters can run amuck without any special permission from God but also with God doing nothing at all to stop these things from killing the human beings he loves."

Why should God be held accountable for people choose to do? They are the ones who are allowing suffering by handing over power to Satan. Why is God always the one responsible? Why is Satan always off the hook? Why did God allow Jesus to die? It was permissive will from the free will of other people.

"Well this begs the question WHY does God love us? Does he have a choice in the matter? Is God capable of ceasing his love of humanity or is it such a strong part of his nature that he is powerless against it? Because if God is powerless against his omnibenevolence than he is not omnipotent. If human beings are so wicked, so corrupt, so horrible, that our sins are causing typhoons and plagues, why doesn't God do SOMETHING about it?"

That's like asking a parent why they love their child. We are His children. Of course He is going to love us. His love for humanity will never cease. I could put out that a lot of things like plagues and typhoons are man made. Some create diseases in a lab to cull the population. Others use HAARP technology to manipulate the weather. In others words, people will just stop blaming God for everything. And God has done something about evil. He sent His only son for our sins.

"Which leads to the question of why God doesn't remove the sin nature from his creation. And note that removing the sin nature is not a violation of Free Will, for Adam and Eve had no knowledge of sin and yet certainly Christians believe they had Free Will – And angels have enough Free Will in Heaven to apparently rebel against God yet they are not generally corrupt or sinful."

It is in our DNA. Human beings have been manipulated to have the propensity to do evil. It is not God who created us like this but Satan who corrupted us. Perfect beings do not have the desire to do evil. The Adam and Eve story is not literal and the angels did not rebel in heaven. How could they if they were sinless?

"As I've had to repeat Free Will is also a fundamental imperfection – its a design flaw. Christians often assert that Adam and Eve were perfect beings BUT had Free Will. This simply doesn't make sense. For one thing no Christian in their right mind would argue that Adam and Eve were as perfect as God was, they would never admit to such a thing. So how can there be differing levels of perfection? It seems they mean to suggest that Adam and Eve are merely perfect in the sense that they have not yet been corrupted, which is a meaningless and misleading usage of the word perfect."

According to Sumerian Tablets, upon which Genesis is based, Adam and Eve were the first genetically modified man by extra-terrestrials. That is why they had the desire to do evil.


Claire Evans profile image

Claire Evans 17 months ago from South Africa

continued...

he Adam and Eve story is not literal and the angels did not rebel in heaven. How could they if they were sinless?

"As I've had to repeat Free Will is also a fundamental imperfection – its a design flaw. Christians often assert that Adam and Eve were perfect beings BUT had Free Will. This simply doesn't make sense. For one thing no Christian in their right mind would argue that Adam and Eve were as perfect as God was, they would never admit to such a thing. So how can there be differing levels of perfection? It seems they mean to suggest that Adam and Eve are merely perfect in the sense that they have not yet been corrupted, which is a meaningless and misleading usage of the word perfect."

According to Sumerian Tablets, upon which Genesis is based, Adam and Eve were the first genetically modified man by extra-terrestrials. That is why they had the desire to do evil.

"If you believe in Free Will than the WHOLE point of it is to allow human beings to make choices independent of God. If Free Will exists disobedience is inevitable so for God to allow such a design flaw to run so rampant that it starts causing things like malaria, the spanish flu or the bubonic plague causes God to fall victim to the Problem of Evil once more. And I won't even go into the fact that the Bible says God cursed his perfect creation thus creating disease and the venom of serpents and the pain of child birth and that responsibility for the fallen nature of creation rests on God's shoulders (and how could it not?)."

Again, we go back to Satan. He has corrupted humanity. It is not a design flaw from God's part. God and Satan are both responsible for how we are today. Sinful yet able to love. Why did God allow Satan to corrupt man? Because Satan is as powerful. However, his power comes from the sin of his creation and man. The power of God, however, comes from just being holy. Satan against God alone cannot happen. He cannot be in the presence of God because God is too holy. Ironically, it is Jesus who could withstand Satan's full presence. This is ultimately why Jesus is the conquerer. And don't think Genesis represent the Father of Jesus in any way. It just isn't true. Genesis is pagan.

"The other version of the Free Will excuse doesn't tackle natural disasters or disease as part of Free Will but rather attempts to explain only why God doesn't intervene in the case of things like murder. Obviously God could value human Free Will above that of human pain and suffering. However God is omnipotent and omnibenevolent and, importantly, omnipresent. Which means that wherever a murder or a rape are taking place God is standing there doing nothing and giving preferential treatment to the Free Will of a murderer or rapist rather than to the will of the victim. This to me is at the very least callous and stupid and at the worst a very evil thing."

Did you know that if God had to prevent this murder, He'd have to prevent all sin? In other words, if He just killed that murderer, we would have to be, too, to stop evil since we are the enablers? Where would it stop? How would the world function if everyone just dropped dead? Then you could say God respected the free will of those who put Jesus to death more than His own Son's free will.

" Or that of the Apostle Paul struck blind on the way to Damascus by a vision of Christ – what can be said for the Free Will of those called by God – or those punished by him. So it seems that most of these Gods contravene human free will quite frequently in the founding documents of their corresponding religions and most believers DO believe that God still intervenes."

This is an interesting one. From the day we are born, God knows who would be receptive to Him. So even though it feels like a violation of free will, God knew that those people would want to do His will. He wouldn't choose anyone who would go against His will.

Of course the idea that God is working with Satan toward some final goal throws God's omnibenevolence out the window. After all teaming up with what is supposedly the most evil being in existence makes little sense for an all loving being to do.

God is not working with Satan. However, He can use evil for good. He didn't want it in the first place, but we know that much good can come out of suffering.

"But maybe it's not a team up, they say, but merely God is using Satan's control of Earth to achieve his own goals. This suggests, however, that God isn't able to achieve his goals without the horrible suffering that he's allowing Satan to unleash and if God isn't able to do something than he isn't all powerful anymore."

Without people to cause suffering by giving Satan power, God would not have had to fight Satan at all and even have the goal to defeat Him. There is a constant battle between good and evil. It's not a case of God needing Satan to achieve His own goals. The problem with this whole argument is that Satan and human beings are seen not to have any responsibility whatsoever. It's all God's fault. Without Jesus' suffering, God's goal of saving humanity would never have been achieved.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 17 months ago from back in the lab again Author

Thank you for your comments Claire but in the future I'd recommend either doing a full response hub to my hub OR emailing me if your responses are going to be this hufe. I'll respond to you after I have time to read and digest your very lengthy comments.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 17 months ago from back in the lab again Author

“If it wasn't for Jesus, Satan would be the more powerful one to take our souls”

First off you seem to implying that without son of God God himself would be overpowered by Satan. How exactly did God manage to create a being more powerful than him? And where would Satan take our souls exactly? Because God has created both Heaven and Hell and in the Bible it is God who judges humanity and sends us either to Heaven or Hell. So if God was not there where would Satan take our souls? To Disney World?

“If God did that, He be considered a tyrant.”

Than God doesn't have to follow us around and prevent us from doing this, he can just design a system where we have free will but do not have a desire to do bad things to each other. There is nothing about the idea of God, say, erasing all aberrant mental disorders and imbalances, which would hinder our free will. Angels presumably have free will, yet something tells me rape and murder don't happen in Heaven. This is because in the Bible mankind is CURSED to carry the sin nature from generation to generation. Adam and Eve didn't have sin nature, but they DID have free will. All God needs do, then, is remove the curse.

Also, the God of the Bible is a tyrant, he is portrayed as an omnipotent King and in the Old Testament is a war-like God who demands that people rest on Saturdays or else be stoned to death, to honor him. It's impossible to come away from the Bible with God as anything BUT a tyrant.

“It is humanity that has chosen to serve Satan.”

I'm assuming that you're talking about Original Sin, where two naïve innocent people who lacked the knowledge of good and evil decided to eat some fruit on the advice of a talking snake. So Adam and Eve, who could have had no idea they were doing anything wrong, let alone something for which every human being ever born ever could be damned for, CHOSE TO SERVE SATAN? Satan, by the way, is not in the Garden of Eden, the idea that the serpent was Satan is a later interpretation based on a New Testament view of Satan.

Satan in the old testament is a word that means adversary or accuser, Satan was an angel who argued the sins of man before God like a Prosecution attorney. This role of Satan's can be seen in the book of Job and elsewhere in the Bible. The idea of Satan as God's arch-nemesis is a New Testament invention as is the interpretation that Satan was the serpent of Eden.

“It's a corrupted world. It is not only God that had a hand in creation.”

You can't keep playing the BLAME SATAN card. You clearly have no real grasp of your Bible either that or you made a mistake here. The world is not corrupted by Satan, that's nowhere in scripture, the world was cursed by God after the Fall in Genesis. And again Satan is a figure which has changed drastically, the version you are blaming here doesn't exist in scripture.

“You assume that God just looks on and does nothing”

I don't know if you read to the end of my hub or not Claire but I'm an atheist, I don't believe in God. I don't think God exists to even look on and do nothing. The Problem of Evil is a problem for believers, they are the ones who believe that God looks on and either does nothing or performs some miracles which are impossible to actually confirm but are taken on faith.

“God is the one who suffers the most.”

A perfect and complete being cannot suffer any permanent loss. If you mean that God's feelings are hurt I really could care less about such a thing and I don't understand why a perfect and all powerful God would be swayed by hurt feelings, feelings which are ultimately under his omnipotent control anyway.

“He shares in our suffering.”

Utterly meaningless. God is an all powerful immortal being, he cannot an will not ever lie down and die without at some point getting up. He cannot suffer any permanent loss, by the very definition of God put forth in the Bible. When people talk about the sacrifice of Jesus they are misunderstanding the meaning of the word sacrifice. Jesus didn't sacrifice anything in the Gospel story, not in the sense of giving something up, he reclaimed his life 3 days later in the same body and went on to reign in Heaven as the all powerful master of time and space. No Jesus' sacrifice is the OTHER kind of sacrifice, a brutal blood-magic ritual meant to appease God.

“Why is Satan always off the hook?”

Again with blaming Satan. Please actually read your Bible and research what it means and what it says, I recommend finding a website where you can compare translations and look at the actual Hebrew. Also you might consult some Jewish scholarship on who and what Satan was to them, vs what he is in the New Testament, vs the Uber Satan you've made up here.

And also in your view God is ultimately responsible FOR EVERYTHING. All Power means All Responsibility. There can be no “off the hook” for an omnipotent being. God created everything in your view right? Meaning it all leads back to him, he is the source of all good and all evil that has ever been. So there is a contradiction present, why is there evil and suffering in the world if God is perfectly good.

“Others use HAARP technology to manipulate the weather”

Random conspiracy theory BS is random. HAARP does not control the weather, it affects a small portion of the ionosphere in Alaska and is a fully declassified project that University students and professional scientists alike have access to. At one point they were even doing open houses that the public could attend, no idea if that's still a thing but yeah, you can actually read all about HAARP on its website. Again its a non-secret non-classified research science station that affects parts of the ionosphere.

“He sent His only son for our sins.”

Thus leading to the creation of Christianity, thus leading to the Inquisitions, Crusades, the burning and torturing of homosexuals, witches, atheists, pagans, heretics, etc. Not to mention the massive organized molestation of little boys perpetrated by the criminal organization known as the Catholic Church. Good job Jesus, doing a great job cutting down on evil in the world, sheesh.

“It is in our DNA.”

Citation to scientific paper needed. Please give me the Google Scholar link to an actual paper that suggests this.

“Adam and Eve were the first genetically modified man by extra-terrestrials”

Wait what? Now ancient astronaut theory too? Which is it, aliens or Satan? You can't be serious with this.

“Again, we go back to Satan.”

Okay I'm not gonna read any further, either you're joking or you've really gone off the deep end here. You can't blend ancient aliens, claim Adam and Eve isn't literal, and then go back to blaming Satan. Sorry, I don't buy it.


LoliHey profile image

LoliHey 17 months ago

For the most part--Rock on, Claire! Your response was well thought out and well written. But when you say that Adam and Eve were modified by extra terrestrials, do you mean actual aliens? I'm not quite clear what you mean by that. Some theologians refer to angels and demons as extra terrestrials. Also, I do not agree that Satan is more powerful than Jesus. I think it is the other way around. The only thing keeping the Anti-Christ from coming is the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Other than that, good response. You were pretty dead on. Titen, it might behoove you to read the rest of her comment.


rjbatty profile image

rjbatty 17 months ago from Irvine

Claire Evans from S. Africa is so deeply into the Jesus drug that she cannot string together a logical/coherent argument for the existence of a supreme being. She lapses into the hackneyed, anthropormorphic argument of the all-creator having allowed the proliferation of evil in order to give mankind some kind of "free will." It's sort of like having someone design their own game and allows his contestant a certain amount of chess moves. Whatever for? What possible purpose could such an arrangement serve? As you say either God is omnipotent or he isn't. If he created the universe, he created all the game rules, and that would include this bizzare, psychological transference of evil upon a snake, a fallen angel, whatever. Oh, I give you tons of credit for even bothering to reply to someone who is still at this infantile stage of psychological thinking. I suffered through a read of Claire's response, and felt depleted, as if I'd just spent 48 or more hours in lock-up with a complete lunatic. Her rant borders on the psychotic. Claire's rebuttal (or whaterever) is rambling, totally lacking any kind of ordered thinking, i.e., one stream-of-conscious thought leading to the next. She is all over the map, skipping from one beleagured, bed-time story idea to the next without any order or established frame of argument. If Claire had read your initial Hub CAREFULLY, she would have understood that you addressed 90% of her equivocation from the very onset. But, she obviously didn't. So, in your reply you had to underscore your main points (exhausting). My hat is off to you for bothering to reply with head cases. I'd probably just click the "Deny" button on HubPages to disallow the torrent of absurdity presented by dim wits like Claire. If a person starts bringing in "asked and answered" issues such as Satan, or worse, ETs, I just have to say adios and have a nice day in the Twilight Zone.


Claire Evans profile image

Claire Evans 15 months ago from South Africa

LoliHey: Sorry, just saw your comment now.

I do believe real aliens genetically modified humans. The conventional type and not angels and demons. They are spiritual beings. Ancient cultures around the world have made images of aliens, that is, the typical "greys".

The Anti-Christ is going to come. He needs to appear, however, at the right time. That means when an one world government forms, for example. It's like Jesus. He had a designated time to come into this world.

Satan is not more powerful than Jesus in the spiritual realm. Jesus has authority over demons in exorcisms. If Satan was more powerful, exorcisms would fail. When Jesus was on earth, He had authority over demons. That is because He had the Holy Spirit. Make no error, Satan is thoroughly terrified of Jesus.

What I am saying is that Satan is more powerful when it comes to earthly affairs. Humans give it to him when they do evil. When one has the Holy Spirit in one's life, Satan cannot succeed. Nothing then stops the will of the Holy Spirit then. So if all of mankind gave the power to the Holy Spirit by accepting Him, there'd be no evil. Satan couldn't survive. He'd have no power because he'd have no one to abet him. Unlike Jesus, Satan cannot stand alone. He needs help.

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