For a supposed expert Biblical scholar, Bart Ehrman does not seem to understand how to handle the contents, concepts and contexts of the Bible. This may be why he is known as a very good textual critic specifically but is equally known as a poor representative of Judeo-Christian theology and a chronic mishandler of the text.
Is it by chance that the oldest book of the Bible deals with the problem of evil and proposes precisely this solution?
The book of Job is thought to have been written 4,000 years ago. Thus, for at least 4,000 years this solution has been available and thus, the more popular the the problem of evil becomes the more those proposing it discredit themselves—a 4,000 years history of refutation is certainly devastating to one’s objections.
“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.
Sometimes, actually, quite often, I wonder if I am misreading or making too much of something> But then again I think that sometimes some atheist are such the deep-within-the-box thinkers and so busy elbowing each other in the ribs at the expense of Christians that they think that they are making sense when they are not or have discovered something that is widely known-such as when it was discovered that the universe had a beginning and Judeo-Christians said, "Thanks for catching up."
John Horgan, who wrote the article which I reproduced here, had occasion to interview Francis Collins who headed the Human Genome Project.1 It was an interview from which some interesting, telling and typical statements came forth.
1. John Horgan, "Francis Collins The Scientist as Believer," National Geographic, Feb 2007, p. 34-39
This post will serve as a very succinct comment on the debate between William Lane Craig and James Robert Brown entitled, "Does God Exist?" (audio file here).
I say succinct for at least two reasons:
1) I have not found a transcript and transcribing lengthy statements is simply an impossibility for me right now given my time constraints. Yet, I listened to the debate and wanted to comment for the simple reason that:
Atheism Makes Evil Worse: Sadly, Quentin Smith concludes this section of the statements we have been considering by delving into juvenile mockery:
"Now the theist might respond that there may be some greater good we don't know about. But notice the theist says, 'here may be some greater good we don't know about.' ell sure there may be some greater good we don't know about. Anything is possible.
The Illusion of Gratuity: My five year old son formulated the "problem of evil." We were walking in the front yard, he in his socks, when he stepped on a goat-head and said, "Goat-heads hurt. Why did God make goat-heads?"
Theism By Proxy: Now to Quentin Smith's by proxy theistic answer:
"So how do theists respond to arguments like this? They say there is a reason for evil, but it is a mystery. Well, let me tell you this: I'm actually one hundred feet tall even though I only appear to be six feet tall. You ask me for proof of this. I have a simply [sic] answer: it's a mystery. Just accept my word for it on faith. And that's just the logic theists use in their discussions of evil."
Emotions in Motion: Allow me to begin this segment by pointing out that I could not help but notice that no one has taken Quentin Smith to task for his claim to "prove atheism." How does one prove a mere lack of belief in god(s) besides by stating, "I lack therefore, I lack"?
Let us consider Quentin Smith's emotional investment:
This essay is parsed as follows:
Part 1: Introduction and Emotionally Charged Statistics
Part 2: And Ignorance For All
Part 3: That's A Big "If," But It's Good Enough and Behold, Contemporary Erudition and Like a Hole in the Head and The Beatles
Part 4: Adultery and Frozen Yogurt and Kids and Rods
Part 5: Back Talking
Part 6: The Two Faces of Jesus?
Part 7: The Day of Vengeance, Be Careful What You Wish For
It is worthy of noting that when considering Sam Harris' criticism's of anything and everything, in this case ultimate judgment, we are dealing with a man who believes that "Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them."1 The same person who seeks to "present an argument for the use of torture in rare circumstances."2 The same man who wrote, "Mother Teresa's compassion is very badly calibrated if the killing of 1st trimester fetuses disturbed her more than all of the suffering she witnessed on Earth."3 In other words Sam Harris' character is generally that of an instigator who is out to cause a ruckus while having but the vaguest basis upon which to criticize (see our essay Sam Harris: Instigator At Large). Sam Harris has besmirched faith thusly, "The core claim of every creed is that it, alone, is true."4 Meanwhile, he is an adherent of the most exclusivist and narrow of beliefs systems. Not only does atheism claim that its tenets alone are true but Sam Harris believes that his particular, and peculiar, views alone are true.
1. Sam Harris, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason (W. W. Norton & Company, 2005), pp. 52-53