Sample clip of my debate with an
atheist on the issue of morality.
Find the whole debate at this link
Was “the Problem of Evil” Solved Before it was Ever Proposed?, part 1 of 2
“Have you not read…?” This was a question that Jesus asked in order to emphasize that His, supposedly, scripturally savvy audience should have already known the answer to that which they were asking Him (see Matthew 22:31 and Mark 12:26).
While I am not certain when the problem of evil was first proposed, a few things are certain:
1. It remains a very popular aspect of the tool box of non-believers of various sorts.
2. It is likely that the problem was solved before it was ever proposed.
The problem of evil essentially proposes that if God is, then God is omnipotent (possessing the potency whereby to do that which is necessary) and omnibenevolent (possessing utter good will).
If God is omnibenevolent, God would not allow evil.
If God is omnipotent, God would possess the ability to not allow evil.
If God is omnibenevolent and wants to disallow evil but cannot, then God is not omnipotent.
If God is omnipotent and can disallow evil but does not want to, then God is not omnibenevolent.
Since evil exists then either God is not omnibenevolent and or is not omnipotent.
If God is not omnibenevolent and or not omnipotent then why call such a being “God”?
Or, perhaps if no being exists that is omnibenevolent and omnipotent then God simply is not.
At the end of the second part of this essay I will provide a list of formulations of “the problem of evil”
This either or concept is a typical false dichotomy; it proposes one or the other option. Yet, there is no logical imperative to fall victim to false dichotomies as we may spit the horns of a dilemma by finding a third option (or, a fourth, fifth, etc.).
What if God is both omnibenevolent and omnipotent and thus, wants to disallow evil and also possesses the capability whereby to disallow evil but God has a reason for delaying disallowing evil.
This is a solution to the the problem of evil: if God has a reason(s) then the problem of evil is not a problem.
Now, “if God has a reason(s)” does not necessitate that 1) we know the reason(s), 2) we agree with the reason(s), 3) we consider it a good reason(s), 4) we reject the reason(s). Our reaction to the reason(s) is irrelevant to the logically sound conclusion that if God has a reason(s) then the problem of evil is resolved.
Now, to say that the problem of evil is not a problem is to make a cold hard fact statement via a logical conclusion. Yet, the problem of evil is, at least, twofold. The first is the logical problem and the second is the emotional problem.
We should most certainly be empathetic to the concerns about evil. We may be able to provide a logically airtight refutation of the problem of evil but the suffering person will surely compare the abstract argumentation against the tangible suffering which they are physically/emotionally felling. See the problem? Argument versus sensation, concept versus feeling.
Yet and ultimately, the the problem of evil is a logical and theological issue and must be dealt with as such. When someone is suffering you do not philosophize but rather, empathize, listen to them, comfort them and then, maybe, get around to logic at some future point.
Atheists such as Dan Barker have themselves solved the problem of evil even whilst apparently not being aware of it since he continues to argue against God’s existence by appealing to the problem of evil.
Dan Baker argues, for example, that rape is not absolutely immoral. In fact, he argues that nothing is absolutely immoral as he claims, “You cannot name an action that is always, absolutely right or wrong, I can think of an exception in any case” (see here).
Now, unlike Dan Barker God never considers rape to be moral but made it a crime punishable by death (see here for elucidation). The point is that, essentially, Dan Barker has hit upon the if God has a reason(s) solution.
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