Skip to comments.Why Evil Disproves Atheism
Posted on 01/17/2015 6:20:42 PM PST by SeekAndFind
As Islamists continue to kill innocents, they provide more fuel for the oft-made atheist claim that religion is evil. Atheist Richard Dawkins condemned the recent attacks in France by tweeting, "No, all religions are NOT equally violent. Some have never been violent, some gave it up centuries ago. One religion conspicuously didn't."
Dawkins is right that some religions and religious people have consistently perpetrated evil. Atheists often use this fact to support atheism. However, the existence of evil turns out to be a bigger problem for atheists to explain than for theists. The kind of evil Dawkins and the rest of the civilized world abhor doesnt disprove Godit disproves atheism.
While its commonly thought that only theists have to explain the existence of evil, the truth is every worldview does. Eastern pantheistic religions try to get around the problem by denying that evil even exists. Evil is an illusion, they say (and according to them, so are you!). Theists say evil is real and try to explain how evil and God can coexist. Atheists tend to be caught in the middle. In one breath they are claiming there is no good, evil, or justice because only material things existwe are just material molecular machines dancing to the music of our DNA (as Dawkins himself put it). In the next breath they are outraged at the great injustices and evil done by religious people in the name of God.
Well, atheists cant have it both ways. Either evil exists or it doesnt. If it doesnt exist, then atheists should stop complaining about the evil religious people have done because they havent really done any. Theyve just been dancing to the music of their DNA. If atheism is true, all behaviors are merely a matter of preference anyway. On the other hand, if evil actually does exist, then atheists have an even bigger problem. The existence of evil actually establishes the existence of God.
To explain why, we need to go back to Augustine who puzzled over the following argument:
1. God created all things.
2. Evil is a thing.
3. Therefore, God created evil.
How could a good God create evil? If those first two premises are true, He did, and this is a God problem. So, God must not be good after all. But then Augustine realized that the second premise is not true. While evil is real, its not a thing. Evil doesnt exist on its own. It only exists as a lack or a deficiency in a good thing.
Evil is like rust in a car: If you take all of the rust out of a car, you have a better car; if you take the car out of the rust, you have nothing. Or you could say that evil is like a cut in your finger: If you take the cut out of your finger, you have a better finger; if you take the finger out of your cut, you have nothing. In other words, evil only makes sense against the backdrop of good. Thats why we often describe evil as negations of good things. We say someone is immoral, unjust, unfair, dishonest, etc.
We could put it this way: The shadows prove the sunshine. There can be sunshine without shadows, but there cant be shadows without sunshine. In other words, there can be good without evil, but there cant be evil without good.
So evil cant exist unless good exists. But good cant exist unless God exists. In other words, there can be no objective evil unless there is objective good, and there can be no objective good unless God exists. If evil is realas the recent headlines from France plainly revealthen God exists. The best evil can do is show theres a devil out there, but it cant disprove God. The very existence of evil boomerangs back to show that God exists.
C. S. Lewis was once an atheist who thought evil disproved God. He later realized he was stealing from God in order to argue against Him. He wrote, [As an atheist] my argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?
Stealing from God is what atheists tend to do when they complain about evil done in Gods name. Richard Dawkins is correct that religious people have done evil things, but his atheism affords him no objective standard by which to judge anything as good or evil. So he steals goodness from God while claiming He doesnt exist. Dawkins has to sit in Gods lap to slap His face.
Just who is this God? Allah isnt a candidate because according to Islamic doctrine Allah is arbitrary, and thus cant be the unchanging standard of good. The true God is the God of the Bible who is revealed as the unchanging ground of all goodness.
Richard Dawkins and other atheists might object, But how can the God of the Bible be the standard of goodness? Doesnt he do evil in the Old Testament? And why would a good God allow evil to continue? Those are some of the many questions I address in my new book, "Stealing from God: Why atheists need God to make their case", from which this column was adapted. Look for more here in the coming weeks.
Evil is the absence of good.
Evil is not something abstract, it s understood by its consequences for lack of repentance. Even the good thief went to heaven.
Excellent column, thank you.
As I have always explained it...
Cold is simply the absence of heat.
Death is simply the absence of life.
Dark is simply the absence of light.
Evil is simply the absence of God.
I believe Christopher Hitchens phrased it a little differently.
The title of his best selling book was not that religion is evil, as such.
He tweaked the noses of the fanatical “Allahu Ackbar!” bigots by titling it, “God Is Not Great: (followed by) How Religion Poisons Everything”.
If a bear mauls a child to death, is it being evil?
Augustine is a poet. Aquinas a scientist. Aquinas parroted Aristotle’s formula: evil is the absence of good (excellence).
No it is being a bear.
If a child dies from cancer, is God being evil by not healing the child?
“Evil is simply the absence of God.”
Could not agree more! No God, no peace. Know God, know peace.
Anyone here old enough to remember Al Capp’s “Li’l Abner”? His two-fisted mother Mammy Yokum had a saying about good and evil:
“Good is better than evil ‘cause it’s nicer!”
There is only One G-d. He is the "G-d of this world," the G-d of Heaven, the G-d of the world-to-come--the G-d of every world. There is no "evil 'gxd'" or "fallen angel" in charge of an independent "kingdom of evil." The One G-d is in charge of everything and uses evil to punish the wicked.
The atheist charge that religion is "evil" is nonsense for one simple reason: objective good and evil depend entirely on the decrees of the One True G-d. No G-d, no Divine decrees--no objective evil. It really is that simple.
It is illogical and irrational for any atheist to claim belief in any objective moral/ethical system. The one and only logical philosophy for atheists is "eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die." Instead we have atheists pushing totalitarian altruism.
RE: If a bear mauls a child to death, is it being evil?
If one presupposes that the Christian worldview is true, then the answer I think would be that this is the CONSEQUENCE of the fall, which is the consequence of sin and evil.
The consequences of sin affect the very order of the universe itself. the Fall affects all of nature their rebellion injected disorder into all of creation.
The above of course, assumes that one accepts the Christian worldview.
One alternative, which is the atheistic worldview, for it to be consistent, is simply to say that the bear’s acts are simply what evolution has wrought.
Thus, in the Holocaust, a random configuration of atoms that evolved into what is called the Nazis simply destroyed a random configuration of atoms the evolved into what is called the Jews.
RE: God Is Not Great: (followed by) How Religion Poisons Everything.
I guess atheistic governments like the USSR, North Korea, Cuba and Communist China don’t poison at all.
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