Sketches on Atheism

ON THE AFFLUENCE OF EVIL

242_gear_sphere_by_bugman123-d4bhnmmThe amount and variety of evil in our world has often baffled and perplexed believers in God, noted Plantinga[1]. Why, though, should it? Does it perplex observers that water runs downhill? Does it baffle the onlooker to see smoke rise? Is it at all confusing, confounding, or mystifying that fire burns flesh?

God exists. Evil not only exists, but its capacity and potency is increasing as Creation grows more complex over time. Is it not then the case that the volume and variety of evil in this world baffles only because it contradicts the things Plantinga’s believers want to believe? If the truly impartial observer of this world steps outside that contradiction then there is no puzzle, and what once bewildered simply vanishes like steam evaporating over a kettle.

Evil exists because God is evil.

The alternative—God is maximally good but thoroughly incompetent and has lost total control of his creation—is a proposition simply too fantastic to entertain. God, by definition, is maximally competent. There are no mistakes. There can be no mistakes. Evil, therefore, exists because it is meant to exist. Evil is growing more complex over time because it is meant to grow more complex over time. Suffering is growing more potent and expressive over time because suffering is meant to grow more potent and expressive over time. The program is running precisely as designed. The machine has not malfunctioned. Creation is unfurling exactly as the Creator desires.

[1] Plantinger, Epistemic probability and evil, Our Knowledge of God, 1992 – Springer, p39

Advertisements

139 thoughts on “ON THE AFFLUENCE OF EVIL

      • Someone needs to make an Azathoth (Lovecraft) animation!

        [O]utside the ordered universe [is] that amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity—the boundless daemon sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, and who gnaws hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time and space amidst the muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin monotonous whine of accursed flutes.[9]

        I just love the image of a blight bubbling and oozing. Could Lovecraft have been an earlier prophet of TOOAIN, I wonder? LOL

        Liked by 1 person

      • Damn, you have the gift of words! I love it 🙂

        I think you’ve just elevated yourself to official TOOAIN Apologist status. As there was once one, and now two, we are increasing exponentially!

        Like

  1. Atheism is a waste of time. The issue it is not if there is a god or not. The issue is that if there are divinities that created everything those entities are not nice. There are thousands and thousands of micro-organisms that propagate diseases. Who created viruses? Who created over 3,000 species of mosquitoes, by far the most dangerous of all animals?

    Like

  2. The ultimate good created the ultimate evil?
    Self-evident—what’s all the fuss?

    One cannot be omnipotent and yet not omni-responsible. Can’t be done.
    (Didn’t some medieval turkeys in France venture along these very lines before God’s good agents gave them a cathartic release?) (Made the Pope happy but he dipped out on their treasure … the dumb bugger, should have planned better …)

    Like

    • The 19th Century philosopher John Fiske nailed it:

      “A scheme which permits thousands of generations to live and die in wretchedness cannot… be absolved from the … charge of awkwardness or malevolence … it is impossible to call that being Good who, existing prior to the phenomenal universe, and creating it out of the plenitude of infinite power and foreknowledge, endowed it with such properties that its material and moral development must inevitably be attended by the misery of untold millions of sentient creatures for whose existence their creator is ultimately alone responsible.” (Fiske, John, 1902, Miscellaneous Writings, iv, Outline of Cosmic Philosophy, New York: Houghton, Mifflin, pp. 225)

      Liked by 2 people

      • Technically, he goofed.

        It is possible, ‘cos hundreds of millions do it everyday.
        Ergo he (Fiske) was babbling wishfully and probably got pilloried for such by the promoters of Truth, Justice, Freedom and Liberty etc etc waffle waffle (you know how it goes). No contradictions there, so obviously he was just a figment of someone’s imagination … probably good old God’s—has to be: God is omniscient.And nice.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Aggie, great to see you

      That would be the Problem of Evil. Here, we’re dealing with the Problem of Good. It is asked: If The Owner of All Infernal Names is omnipotent and omnimalevolent, why then does He allow the existence of good in the world? Either He cannot prevent it, in which case He is not omnipotent, or He chooses to allow it, in which case He is not omnimalevolent.

      The short answer is, there is no Good. Good does not exist. Not in the strictest sense. Not as something thoroughly wholesome. Not as something distasteful or repugnant to The Owner of All Infernal Names. Things, many things, can be temporarily beneficial, some even massively constructive, but in the end even the most seemingly advantageous adaptation, innovation, placating moral code, or blessed period of calm and prosperity is merely a deceptively dressed mechanism to greater evil. The Problem of Good is not a problem, whereas the Problem of Evil still remains (after 2,000 years) unanswered. The Free Will excuse does not explain animal suffering. It does not explain the suffering of innocents. It does not explain why evil is compounding over time and growing more competent and complex. By then the logic promoted by the 14th century Franciscan friar, William of Ockham (who said where competing hypotheses exist to explain a phenomenon in the natural world the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected as the most likely), evil exists because God is evil.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hmm. It is not at all obvious to me that good doesn’t exist. Experience is my best teacher, and I experience good, as well as evil. I do agree that evil predominates in our corner of the universe.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, many goods do exist. Dreams, after all, must be erected before they can razed. Prospects and aspirations and expectations must be birthed and floated before they can be overwhelmed and drowned. Optimism must be established, plans mapped out, investments made and ambitious journeys launched before a thousand and one profitable little deaths can be delivered. A population must be fattened before it can be starved. A revolution, like an ignorant wide-eyed child, must be set free before it can be ravished by ghouls of every shape and colour. One and a half billion people must be fed and protected to some degree of satisfaction—a precious few even allowed to live spectacular lives in idyllic settings free from any and all concerns—so the six and half billion thirsty, starving, sick, war-torn, homeless, and displaced can recognise and appreciate their sorrowful lot. Impossibly courageous adventures must have, at the very least, some scent of imaginable success or else the adventurer would never unfurl his incomplete map and wonder, what if…

        The chief purpose of Creation is not misery alone, rather the accretion of suffering through the positive diversification of life and culture and technology over time, and for that to be realised then Creation must be seeded with the capacity to birth and nourish goods.

        Like

      • Without heads, no tails. Without light, no dark (or should that be the converse? Stet …) and of course without evil, no good. Could there be any ‘healthy’ people in a world without sickness?

        So how can God demonstrate His worth without evils, hmmmm?
        And without a god(s) how can the blasted priest make his buck, hmmmmm?

        If God didn’t exist — he’d have to be invented. And so he was … all over the place. God(s) is a universal—only the name is changed to suit the conditions. Just ask Veles, He knows~! All ya godda do is have faith …

        Liked by 1 person

    • God can neither ‘allow’ nor otherwise.
      He too is simply a spectator—don’t forget (I apologise for constantly harping on this point) that He knows eternities in advance the foregone outcome of every situation(s). So all He can do is Watch.

      Like

      • Argie, I’m using your comment to reply to John. I think you’ve got a good hypothesis there, that God may not run the show it started.

        John, we disagree on the reality of good, but I love and embrace “a population must be fattened before it can be starved.” And I love your observation that goods substitute for good in our world. Kudos.

        Like

      • Hi Aggie,

        Oh, I don’t actually believe in The Owner of All Infernal Names. He’s a character (and accompanying theology with evidences) I invented to demonstrate the stunning weakness in theistic arguments for the existence of a personal god. That’s to say, if one takes the theistic arguments, especially the teleological argument, and apply it honestly to this world, then the conclusion is malevolence, not benevolence. Deistic notions, to which I think you prescribe, are immune to the critique.

        Liked by 1 person

    • “Without good, how could you recognize evil?”

      if this is true, then without evil, how could you recognize good? And then where would the claim of heaven be? Christians in heaven having no idea that they got their reward. How sad. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That machine is spectacular- reminds me of the evil planet in the Fifth Element that kept growing when they fired at it lol. I am fully convinced we live in a completely evil world by nature- but the dreamer in me *wants* to believe there is hope for some good 😉 PS on the note of God- here is a link to the cliff notes version of the Bible fye (for your entertainment). Even when I was religious I never read the Bible in its entirety and found this summation of the Bible quite humorous…http://www.tickld.com/x/jaw/the-entire-bible-explained-in-one-facebook-post?utm_source=tickld&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=bible&ts_pid=2&ts_pid=2

    Liked by 1 person

    • ‘Tis true, SOM. That universal prayer which has been nervously whispered, spoken, chanted, shouted and even screamed towards the air in every known language and now misplaced dialect since time immemorial, “Deliver us from evil”, has never, and will never be answered. One cannot, after all, be ‘delivered’ from one’s source.

      This, though, is a mere observation, not philosophy.

      Like

      • So Christian civilization is the answer? Yes indeed! An answer to the question: “What is the most effective way to implement the will of The Owner of All Infernal Names?”

        Slavery on a vast scale, warfare and the atomic bomb, massive environmental devastation, pernicious and poisonous popular cultures, a philosophy which reduces human beings to economic production units. A religion which depends on eternal damnation and human sacrifice.

        SOM nails it! TOOAIN is so pleased with you!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. SOM,
    western civilization is the answer to evil? seems to me, by my count, western civilization has started ALL the major Wars in the last… oh I don’t know… 4 centuries. if that’s ‘civilization’ and THAT is the answer to Evil… God help the World from US(A)?
    -mike

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mike,

      Civilization allows man to leave the grinding poverty and destitution of hunter-gathering culture and establish regimes whose aim is justice.

      Man, by his nature is prone to wickedness, as you point out, but that is a defect in human nature, no civilization.

      And it was in Christian Western Civilization where human life became more valuable than a bucket of warm spit and the common man lived free to pursue his own individual happiness.

      As we see with abortion champion Planned Parenthood’s butchering of baby parts and selling them for coin, our Christian Western Civilization has died.

      Like

      • Christian western civilization is only as ‘christian’ as the Christians within it are ‘civilized’ and able to make contributions that benefit the Whole, not just their own aims.
        you have proven to me time and time again in your comments to me and others that you are neither ‘civil’-ized, Christian, or empathetic in your discourse with others who disagree with you. thus, as the only example of your person that I have for examination, you show very little care for the benefit of others in the society as a Whole apart from your own aims and ends. you too easily ‘destroy’ with your words and I could say from the history of the last 400yrs or so, Christian western civilization has echoed that disinterested lack of empathy towards dissenting opinion and has been the direct CAUSE of all the major international and national wars in, like I said, that last 400yrs or so.
        it’s Western Civilization, SPECIFICALLY Christian Western Civilization as powered by, not despite, Christians like you who are the at the Epicenter of World Evil.
        enjoy the Day. -mike

        Liked by 1 person

      • ” … And it was in Christian Western Civilization where human life became more valuable than a bucket of warm spit and the common man lived free to pursue his own individual happiness… ”

        Oops. Error alert. Red button down full, please … but could be corrected by the the removal of that ‘Ch’ word.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Club,

        During the Middle Ages Catholic Christianity laid the foundation for the scientific revolution.

        But it was the Protestant Reformation that unleashed the Renaissance and the Enlightenment.

        Like

      • oh my, that’s a lovely story. Too bad it isn’t true any farther than people started questioning their god and how the world works. But please do tell us how this supposedly occurred. I am looking for cause and effect and please do supply evidence and citations.

        Like

      • “Civilization allows man to leave the grinding poverty and destitution of hunter-gathering culture and establish regimes whose aim is justice” …

        Civilisation does, yes.
        Religion doesn’t. Gods don’t—you should read the Christian bible, the Old Testament, and some of the ‘good works’ gleefully recounted therein.

        Perhaps it depends on how the individual interprets the word civilisation … and interpretation depends on time, place, and the individual.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Argus,

        Name a single civilization that did not grow up around religion.

        You can’t because there aren’t any.

        Without religion, civilization is impossible.

        And those civilizations and cultures commandeered by atheists have become hell holes of mass murder, rampant poverty, bone crushing oppression.

        All historical evidence proves:

        Religion good, atheism very, very bad.

        Liked by 2 people

      • So many ‘civilisations’ throughout history … so many to choose from. Most of them with a different god, God, gods, goddesses, priesthoods, holy books, doctrines, etc etc and moral codes.

        Worse: each and every one of them the unique pathway to union with The Divine.

        Hey, I like it~!

        Liked by 1 person

      • You know what, I actually agree with SOM regarding the below.

        Without religion, civilization is impossible.

        This is actually the only factual thing that he has ever said. I think it is important that we recognize that social evolution actually showed that religion was a necessary factor in civilization. How many “god kings” have we had in the past? Without these divine mandates it is likely peasants would have revolted long ago.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Basenjibrian,

        Nevertheless, civilization and culture are much better than a hunter-gathering existence.

        Otherwise, civilizations would not have flourished. They would have died out and all mankind would live like an aborigine.

        Like

      • That’s not true at all, SOM. We have 200,000 years of evidence of Hunter Gathers surviving quite successfully, whereas 5,000 years of civilisation has brought us to the point of near total destruction where we’re not only about to ruin ourselves, but the planet with us. This 6th Mass Extinction Event is the result of civilisation.

        Civilisations flourished simply because they proceed by the sword, and for the greater part of history there has always been a neighbour who’s weaker. Civilisations are parasitic by nature, and all attempts to date to make them anything but have failed. That’s not to say we can’t make it work, but we are not on the track right now to achieving anything but self-and-ecological destruction.

        Like

      • John,

        Human life and the pursuit of happiness take place in civil society. That is why the vast, vast majority of human beings prefer civil life over the hunter gatherer life.

        If hunter gather life is so great, why don’t you forsake your toilet paper, the roof over your head, your car, the supermarket and go for it.

        You wouldn’t do that because you know you would last a week.

        And besides, without your blessed computer and Internet connection how on Earth would you be able to taunt Christians with your insufferable atheist propaganda?

        No John, even a wannabe wildling such as yourself, prefers civil society over the good life of bone grinding poverty, disease, hunger and early death.

        Liked by 1 person

      • And besides, without your blessed computer and Internet connection how on Earth would you be able to taunt Christians with your insufferable atheist propaganda?

        Bite your tongue, heathen. I am a theist and apologist for the True God and Creator of the All, The Owner of All Infernal Names.

        Have you read the book yet, SOM? I’d be thoroughly interested to see if you can mount a coherent rebuttal to the thesis. I doubt you could, but you never know, I might be surprised.

        Like

  5. From Debunking Christianity:

    Beliefs, Habits, Doubt, Love, Jealousy, Sexism, Racism– and Why God is NOT Love

    Logically speaking, the Bible proves that Yahweh is NOT love:

    “But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8

    “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud “1Corinthians 13:4

    “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,” Exodus 20:5

    In the logical form of Modus Tollens, the following is the conclusion drawn from the above passages:

    P1. IF God is love, THEN God is not jealous.
    P2. God IS jealous.
    C. Therefore God is NOT love.
    ————————————-

    QED

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Personally I think God is just following the prime directive of non-interference like in Star Trek. He created the universe but then was reprimanded by his superior officers at Star Fleet, and now has to follow the prime directive or they will strip of his captain status.

    Like

  7. Wouldn’t an evil god be contradicted by the problem of good? There is at least some good in the world, which an all powerful all knowing evil god should be able to stamp out. God, if he, she, or it exists, seems to be chaotically neutral (to use a D&D alignment label).

    Like

    • Ah, the Problem of Good. It’s not actually a problem at all. I have a whole chapter on it in the book, but for a quick explanation I’ll copy what i wrote to Aggie above:

      The short answer is, there is no Good. Good does not exist. Not in the strictest sense. Not as something thoroughly wholesome. Not as something distasteful or repugnant to The Owner of All Infernal Names. Things, many things, can be temporarily beneficial, some even massively constructive, but in the end even the most seemingly advantageous adaptation, innovation, placating moral code, or blessed period of calm and prosperity is merely a deceptively dressed mechanism to greater evil …

      Oh, many goods do exist. Dreams, after all, must be erected before they can razed. Prospects and aspirations and expectations must be birthed and floated before they can be overwhelmed and drowned. Optimism must be established, plans mapped out, investments made and ambitious journeys launched before a thousand and one profitable little deaths can be delivered. A population must be fattened before it can be starved. A revolution, like an ignorant wide-eyed child, must be set free before it can be ravished by ghouls of every shape and colour. One and a half billion people must be fed and protected to some degree of satisfaction—a precious few even allowed to live spectacular lives in idyllic settings free from any and all concerns—so the six and half billion thirsty, starving, sick, war-torn, homeless, and displaced can recognise and appreciate their sorrowful lot. Impossibly courageous adventures must have, at the very least, some scent of imaginable success or else the adventurer would never unfurl his incomplete map and wonder, what if…

      The chief purpose of Creation is not misery alone, rather the accretion of suffering through the positive diversification of life and culture and technology over time, and for that to be realised then Creation must be seeded with the capacity to birth and nourish goods.

      Like

  8. Love the animation. And if an all powerful being created evil and had a plan, it’s exactly right that things woukd be gojng according to plan. Therefore, such a being would be responsible for the outcome.

    Like

  9. Pingback: A Partial Observer Reviews a Book | Amusing Nonsense

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s