Sketches on Atheism

On the Problem of Good

Adapted from my new book, On the Problem of Good.

The staggering amount and variety of evil in this world should not be the source of enormous confusion for believers in God.

The world has not gone spectacularly wrong. The machine has not malfunctioned. There has been no mistake, no misstep, no ineptitude or imbecilic blunder in the design. The evil which is amplifying through Creation is there for a purpose, there by design, growing, evolving, and it is evolving because the architect of this world—the Creator—not only draws some manner of critical pleasure from its existence, but more importantly, craves its augmentation over time.

This world inside which sentience has awoken, uninvited, is the stuff of all nightmares, a living daymare, a defiled experiment draped in ethical ugliness, but between those stubbornly long periods of anxiety and calamity, good exists. Between those repeated seasons of uncertainty and ruin, good pushes through.  Between those ever-so faithful cycles of total war where even grass and livestock are considered the enemy, good can flourish, and the existence of this good presents what is arguably the only coherent and consistent argument which can be forwarded by sceptics challenging the existence of a being who for a million tiny sensible reasons cherishes His anonymity and may be identified as simply The Owner of All Infernal Names: The Problem of Good.

It is asked: If The Owner of All Infernal Names is omnipotent and omnimalevolent, why does He allow 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.

To even the most casual observer the contradiction found in the Problem of Good appears valid and persuasively damning. Maximum evil, in possession of maximum power, could not possibly tolerate the presence of good. Even a little good—some pleasant smell or pleasing vista—seemingly negates the thesis of unblemished evil, and the proposition that good exists because the maximally-equipped Creator has somehow lost control over some (or all) of his creation is conspicuously absurd.

There are no mistakes. There can be no mistakes. There is neither room nor capacity for little rebellions, let alone the yielding of even the smallest fraction of Creation to some obnoxious insurgency, and if something is error-free then what exists exists for a reason, a purpose.

The problem though persists. It lingers in the mind like a weeping sore, and if one seeks an excuse-free explanation for this world (which must be the single-most important objective of any honest inquiry into the nature of existence; of why there is something rather than nothing) then the problem demands attention.

On the Problem of Good, print and eBook available through Amazon and CreateSpace. And do please pen a review. It’d be hugely appreciated. My apologies, but if you’re outside the U.S and can’t order the eBook through Amazon.com then please buy the print version (which contains an added, hidden treasure) through Amazon, or even better, at the Createspace store, and I’ll email you the eBook file (ePub or Mobi) free which you can upload directly to any e-reader, including Kindle. Sorry about that, but Amazon has a strange (unworkable) set-up for anyone publishing outside the U.S.

 

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181 thoughts on “On the Problem of Good

  1. Your publisher is undoubtedly, Hallucination Station.

    It’s amazing enough that human beings can hallucinate such gibberish in sufficient quantities to fill enough empty pages to call a book.

    What is even more amazing is that so many people join in on the hallucination.

    Off course, I cite the first paragraph of this post as my reference.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ‘Time’ is a concept meaningless in the context of ‘God’.
    Good ol’ God is omnipresent and eternal (both ways, from any ‘point’) and has no past, or future; merely an eternal Now. So can anyone such actually ‘crave’ anything?

    Such trifles aside, I hope you do well with The Book. I pray fervently to whatever gods may be for your success—not that it will make any difference, unless of course ol’ God wrote it into the script aeons ago before He created everything (jeez, it’s tough being a religious cynic) (oops, a cynic of religion) I tell ya~!

    And it’s nice to see you blogging again. Boom boom!

    Liked by 2 people

      • Having slept on it with three dozen aspirins I’ve concluded that the one thing He (She, It) cannot do is de-create the whole mess.

        Or any particle of it.

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      • Close, but well done. An uncreated aseitic being cannot not be. The next post deals with this, but in essence:

        Unable to die, powerless to be no more, incapable of even experiencing the thrill of the fear of approaching annihilation, it was inevitable that a non-contingent aseitic being (that seminal consciousness: God) would come, eventually, to gather and focus His impossible powers to contrive artificial environments fixed between concepts He, the Creator, could never touch, but could impose on a synthetic scape: a beginning, a middle, and an end. Inside these sealed-off worlds (these petri dishes) profoundly ignorant avatars could be cultured and grown to probe and explore this extraordinary curiosity; evolving surrogates raised like experimental animals, and through whom He, the Creator, could taste the fear He alone could never savour, feel the suffering He alone could never know, and meet every pedigree of oblivion denied to Him by dying vicariously.

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      • I didn’t “get” half of what you just wrote, but something you said brought this question to mind … if the god the Christians believe in cannot die and if this same god made humans “in our own image,” then why do humans die? (I mean, outside of the “reasons” expressed in the bible about the garden antics and such.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wouldn’t Christians point to the soul as the eternal bit?

        I’ll put up the next post in a couple of days, and that explains a little better why there is something rather than nothing.

        Or, better still, you can read the book, cause its all in there 🙂

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      • The Christians can say what they want … the fact of the matter is, the entity known as “God” is eternal, yes? Thus, as its created beings, we should be eternal as well. For them to counteract this by bringing in the “soul” is flim-flam.

        I’m sure your book is superb, excellent, spell-binding, but I pretty much shy away from “religious” books. I read so many of them during research for my own book, I got burned out. Now my subject of choice leans towards sci-fi (not vampires, zombies, etc.) — mostly post apocalyptic. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Okayyyyyy … I have to admit defeat here—none of my resources defines ‘aseitic ‘ although everyone seems to be using it all over the web. (Even good ol’ Google asks “Did you mean ‘ascetic’? I ignore the question, being too dum and too humble to answer lest I betray my ignorance). (Nobody wants to appear dum’ on Google …)

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  3. Congratulations John! And I have just ordered it! I hope this also means you’ll be back blogging a little more, as I miss your posts!

    From your descriptions it seems like a clever argument. Essentially using the same logic as Christians use to justify evil, but starting from a the position of your previous book of a malevolent God. Once again, I feel any theists who do read it, will fail to see that logical frameworks can be applied in the exact same way from any unverified premise. They will argue with you tooth and nail, and every time they do, you win. lol

    Liked by 3 people

  4. This topic is a great example of how we think determines what we think.

    The identical form of the argument with reversed terms demonstrates why the ontological argument is vacuous of knowledge but full to the brim with assumptions and beliefs that are divorced from reality. The argument relies on premises assumed to be true AND reflective and/or descriptive of reality. That’s the core problem. How do we know if the premises in the ontological argument are true?

    The point is, how can we do this?

    Well, imposing heartfelt belief and confidence in that belief (because we are assured by men in dresses and funny hats that such belief is considered pious) is a piss poor way as this thesis demonstrates. In fact, imposing faith-based belief on reality to support a faith-based belief about reality is a guaranteed way to fool one’s self, to mistake one’s ignorance for knowledge… as SoM and others of his pious ilk consistently demonstrates. What is needed is an independent source for testing the premises other than our imported beliefs about them. But the faith-based method has already dismissed reality’s role and has substituted faith as a virtuous ‘alternative’.

    Yeah, obviously that’s not going to work… obvious to those who actually think well, that is.

    So, as soon as one recognize that certain premises cannot be tested or are so poorly defined in concrete terms that only presumption about them must be accepted for them to make any sense of meaning, we know we’ve moved away from knowledge about reality and into a fictitious axiomatic system of logical proofs that may or may not have any relationship to reality at all. And the problem here is that there is no means available once one accepts a faith-based method to test them because reality itself is not an axiomatic system..That’s why reversing the terms in the ontological argument and using the identical defenses of theists to ward off reality’s arbitration of its premises reveals the heart of the problem.

    Well done, JZ. You are a delightful thorn that just keeps giving.

    Liked by 7 people

    • The Ontological argument (word for word from Craig’s own writing) is presented in the first book. As read:

      1. It is possible that a maximally wicked being exists.
      3. If it is possible that a maximally wicked being exists, then a maximally wicked being exists in some possible world.
      4. If a maximally wicked being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
      5. If a maximally wicked being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
      6. Therefore, a maximally wicked being exists in the actual world.
      7. Therefore, a maximally wicked being exists.
      8. Therefore, the Omnimalevolent Creator exists.

      Convincing stuff, and Craig calls this the most definitive proof for God.

      “we know we’ve moved away from knowledge about reality and into a fictitious axiomatic system of logical proofs that may or may not have any relationship to reality at all.”

      Heathen! There’s no fiction in this. Aggravetics is the scientific analysis of 13.82 billion years of history, of this world, this complexity machine, and it arrives at the inevitable (demonstrable) conclusion: this world is a defiled experiment draped in ethical ugliness.

      But thanks… If Aggravetics doesn’t prick a thumb or two it’s not True Aggravetics.

      Liked by 5 people

      • Of course I do recognize the Problem of Good to be the flip version of the Craig’s response to the Problem of Evil but I wanted to point out the same root is grounded in the ontological argument… considered by many theists to be the slam dunk argument for ‘demonstrating’ some creator god’s existence.

        I expect your next challenge will be to find a way to flip the ‘something cannot come from nothing… except god, therefore god’ argument. I look forward to it!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I know you know, just wanted to paste it 🙂

        Oh, this book does explain why there is something (this artificial world) rather than nothing, but no, I’m not quite at the level of Advanced Aggravetics to explain where TOOAIN came from.

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      • I’m just not smart enough or “philosophical” enough to find the Craigian argument remotely convincing. It seems to make amazing leaps from one tiny river rock to the next slipper foothold, but there is no reason to make these leaps unless one is crossing to a predetermined opposite shore.

        I love it!

        Plus, I just love saying “OM-NEE-MUH-LEV-OH-LENT” It just rolls off the tongue. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hope you are going to be blogging more now that you have published the book.
    My only contention is with your point on suffering. I think suffering or pain is what is positive. Happiness is fleeting and usually is a lack of something.
    I loved the book.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. John!

    So NOW I know why you’ve been so very quite lately — you’ve been writing; writing an excellent work I might add! 😉

    Reading this “Intro” I kept saying to myself, “Self, the pattern of reasoning this man/author is going through to explain(?) Good, the hoops being jumped through, are basis for a full psych evaluation!” Hahaha! You get my gist, yes? 😉

    I believe I must purchase this book Sir. A must read for me; an ENJOYABLE read!

    So does this mean you’ll be back around the various blogs in the blogosphere?

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Timely … I just ‘ran silent, ran deep’ to avoid answering the door to Seventh Day Adventists or Jehovah’s Witlesses or whatever the urban predators are that hunt in packs these days.

    Dammit, I should have answered … that one (no, not the guy one) was actually rather attractive …

    bugger bugger bugger bugger bugger bugger bugger bugger bugger bugger bugger bugger bugger bugger bugger bugger bugger bugger and dammit too~!

    MEMO TO GOD:
    Sir … your timing was out. No wonder you are a diminishing resource …

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Since I haven’t read the book perhaps a critique of your post…

    The first paragraph is true. The “staggering amount and variety of evil in this world” [is not a] “source of enormous confusion for believers in God”.

    The second paragraph supposes the Creator designed evil for his own glory. This is a twisted untruth. To vision a God who would create us so that he can delight in our suffering is twisted. It’s a belief that manifests itself in a rebellious heart. It’s a song sung by many who are hurting and have suffered a tragedy and blame God.

    The third paragraph delves to explain the thinking of a deranged mind. You use many phrases associated to derangement; a living daymare, ethical ugliness, anxiety and calamity, uncertainty and ruin, faithful cycles of total war, The Owner of All Infernal Names, and The Problem of Good. All of it is a human projection and invention onto reality. The reality is that the Bible tells us explicitly how much God loves us and how we should live. That is, we are told to love, forgive, be charitable and to FIGHT evil.

    In the New American Standard Version, love is mentioned 348 times — 133 times in the Old Testament and 215 times in the New Testament. In the New International Version, it is mentioned 551 times — 319 times in the Old Testament and 232 times in the New Testament. There are 538 instances of the word “love” in the New Revised Standard Version, 317 in the Old Testament and 221 in the New Testament.

    The remainder of the post speaks to the “problem of good”. More twisted untruth.

    I see no academic reasoning for this book from your post, only some one who has been hurt and out for a grudge. You take a poetic license, I get that, but if some one hurting lands here and is persuaded to also hate the only real thing that can give them utter peace, well then, I guess your happy. Thank you for allowing people like me to have a say.

    As a by-thought…I had a thought all this time of silence on your blog that perhaps you were on your knees but you and all your fellows are still worth praying for. ALWAYS. I’ll pray for you until the last second.

    Peace. Roy.

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    • As your commentary goes fabulously wrong in your third paragraph I’ll just ignore the rest, and wait for you to actually read the book, after which, hopefully, you’ll be in a postiion to offer a (possibly) intelligent and (otherwise) informed critique.

      FYI, there is a formal challenge presented which you’re more than welcome to try and tackle. I’m certain you can’t, but I’m open to being surprised.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love humor John. I’m sure you read it all, but liar is harsh…

        What I wrote stands and your reply speaks to it.

        Post your challenge John I’ll give you my best. Surely this book isn’t going to make your any real money since you only have about a dozen people commenting.

        After all, you posted the challenge from the last book that made you a couple hundred dollars.

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      • If I wanted to write a book that’d make my bank account sing (as opposed to a work that pushed the human condition) I’d cast aside my moral compass and shamelessly pen a story directed to U.S. evangelicals, telling a wonderful tale of how I was once a heathen, angry at Yhwh, confused, lost, debauched, empty, then found Jesus and everything since has been rainbows and unicorns and iced tea.

        I could knock out such a yarn in a month or two, easily, and it would probably sell millions because I’d hit every mark, over and over, that would make gullible evangelicals desperate for confirmation, like yourself, nod and smile and feel good as I poured thick warm chocolate over those frightful contradictions you live and struggle with every day.

        My bank account, however, is doing perfectly fine without that, and I like my moral compass pointing just the way it is.

        The challenge is at the end of the book. It feeds from all those pages that precede it… you know, those pages filled with words and sentences and paragraphs and chapters that give it, the challenge, meaning and context.

        Take up the challenge or not, Roy/Bobby/or whoever you might be posting as later.

        Your choice.

        Liked by 2 people

    • If God didn’t “…the Creator designed evil for his own glory. This is a twisted untruth….” do so, then who did?

      And if the creation of evil can be laid upon poor old Satan … then where did he come from? Did Satan likewise create itself, from nothing, like God is said to have done … or did the Prime Architect design and create what turned out to be a flawed product?

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      • Your over thinking it. Try not twisting the reality we were given. You and I and everyone else needs to be good. One bad apple is evil hurting someone. It isn’t anything outside our reality that perpetrates evil, it is humans. It is real flesh and blood that breeds evil.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It isn’t anything outside our reality that perpetrates evil, it is humans. It is real flesh and blood that breeds evil.

        Precisely! But it’s not just humans. We have 13.82 billion years to survey and assess. As the thesis details (noted here in this short post): The evil which is amplifying through Creation is there for a purpose, there by design, growing, evolving, and it is evolving because the architect of this world—the Creator—not only draws some manner of critical pleasure from its existence, but more importantly, craves its augmentation over time.

        The challenge, Roy, is for you to actually address this observation… but to do so from a position of strength, meaning, by knowing exactly what the thesis says first before spewing an ignorant word salad.

        Here’s a hint as to the state of your ignorance: the Creator is not “evil.”

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      • I would add Argus that my first post was not to imply that John is actually deranged, although I used that word several times.

        The disconnect comes from the idea that a God who gave us life and a wonderful sustaining place to live, is responsible for our willful rejection of his instructions to love and give.

        The premise that a created being who rebels and disobeys is somehow the creators fault is madness. It smacks against the written word, ignoring instructions and then blaming the instructor for failure is madness.

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      • LeRoy:
        I try to see, but keep coming up against basic realities—namely God’s three defining qualities of omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence.

        God knew before He created Creation what would happen; everywhere and every time, yet still He set the wheels in motion.

        That, Sir … wasn’t nice.

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      • A wise man once murmured to me words to the effect that—

        “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. The two-eyed a monstrosity …”

        But moving on, now quoting your own good self— “The premise that a created being who rebels and disobeys is somehow the creators fault is madness. It smacks against the written word, ignoring instructions and then blaming the instructor for failure is madness.”

        Oops. Knowing in advance that His lovely organic robot would rebel (I blame the software, myself) and create Evil—He still goes ahead? That’s not good …

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      • To me, it seems like Yahweh screwed up once and decided to double down and REALLY screw up. Even after multiple slaughters an punishments and floods, he just can’t seem to get it right?

        Liked by 1 person

    • ah, the theist who claims he is praying for atheists. What are you praying for, Roy? That we are mind raped and have to start agreeing with you? That this god will reveal itself? Most Christians will refuse to say what they are praying for, since that will show, without a doubt that their prayers don’t work. And then where would they be?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Bugger … I couldn’t find an appropriate ‘Reply’ button. Anyway, on with the show:

    Lacking in divine abilities, and being strictly limited to my own dimensions … I still don’t fathom why an ‘omniscient’ need create those blessed petrie dishes to vicariously gain experience?

    Or does good ol’ God have one extra ace up His sleeve—He can disassociate His powers at will? (Wow … that can’t be easy …) (not even for someone who can do anything, at will).

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      • We are driven to survive (most of us) by our inborn programming. Your Creator gives us no real choice but to want to exist.

        But, your question does not answer John’s main points: TOOAIN may have logically created us as a source of amusement. As your own co-religionists so tiresomely claim, we exist only for His glory. Given the reality of the physical universe (floods, tornadoes, disease, Sun going nova) John’s thesis makes more sense than yours does

        Liked by 2 people

  10. John, you state, “The evil which is amplifying through Creation is there for a purpose, there by design, growing, evolving, and it is evolving because the architect of this world—the Creator—not only draws some manner of critical pleasure from its existence, but more importantly, craves its augmentation over time”.

    Everything about your thesis on evil is only your impression. It’s unverifiable and contradicts what is written about God’s attributes.

    My explanation follows, sorry it’s a bit long.

    ***

    At first it might seem that if God created all things, then evil must have been created by God. However, evil is not a “thing” like a rock or electricity. You cannot have a jar of evil. Evil has no existence of its own; it is really the absence of good. For example, holes are real but they only exist in something else. We call the absence of dirt a hole, but it cannot be separated from the dirt. So when God created, it is true that all He created was good. One of the good things God made was creatures who had the freedom to choose good. In order to have a real choice, God had to allow there to be something besides good to choose. So, God allowed these free angels and humans to choose good or reject good (evil). When a bad relationship exists between two good things we call that evil, but it does not become a “thing” that required God to create it.

    Perhaps a further illustration will help. If a person is asked, “Does cold exist?” the answer would likely be “yes”. However, this is incorrect. Cold does not exist. Cold is the absence of heat. Similarly, darkness does not exist; it is the absence of light. Evil is the absence of good, or better, evil is the absence of God. God did not have to create evil, but rather only allow for the absence of good.

    If God had not allowed for the possibility of evil, both mankind and angels would be serving God out of obligation, not choice. He did not want “robots” that simply did what He wanted them to do because of their “programming”. God allowed for the possibility of evil so that we could genuinely have a free will and choose whether or not we wanted to serve Him.

    As finite human beings, we can never fully understand an infinite God. God looks at things from a holy, eternal perspective. We look at things from a sinful, earthly, and temporal perspective. Why did God put man on earth knowing that Adam and Eve would sin and therefore bring evil, death, and suffering on all mankind? Why didn’t He just create us all and leave us in heaven where we would be perfect and without suffering? These questions cannot be adequately answered this side of eternity. What we can know is whatever God does is holy and perfect and ultimately will glorify Him. God allowed for the possibility of evil in order to give us a true choice in regards to whether we worship Him.

    Is it that there is life and then there’s death; a good God and a evil God? Most view the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Death is not the opposite of life, merely the absence of it. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing.

    Immorality is merely the absence of morality. Is there such thing as injustice? No. Injustice is the absence of justice. Is there such a thing as evil? Isn’t evil the absence of good?

    If there is evil in the world, John, and we all agree there is, then God, if he exists, must be accomplishing a work through the agency of evil. What is that work God is accomplishing? The Bible tells us it is to see if each one of us will, of our own free will, choose good over evil.

    Your proposition that, “the Creator—not only draws some manner of critical pleasure from its existence [evil], but more importantly, craves its augmentation over time”, totally contradicts what is written about his attitude towards us.

    The entire passage found in 1 John 4:7-21 speaks of God’s loving nature.

    Love is not merely an attribute of God, it is his very nature. God is not only loving, he is fundamentally love. God alone loves in the completeness and perfection of love.

    So, if God is love and we, his followers, are born of God, then we will also love. God loves us, so we must love one another.

    A true Christian, one saved by love and filled with God’s love, must live in love toward God and others.

    Love is the true test of Christianity. We believe that the character of God is rooted in love. We receive God’s love in our relationship with him. We experience God’s love in our relationships with others.

    Peace be with you all.

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    • Gosh. How lucky is John to have a “scholar” like you to explain it all to him! Just think! If not for you, he would have gone stumbling through life … not knowing the “true story.”

      Liked by 3 people

    • It’s unverifiable and contradicts what is written about God’s attributes.

      It’s not only verifiable, but demonstrable. We are all hydrogen’s diaspora. We are all, quite literally, discrete, momentarily unique, progressively more complicated incidents in that first elements free roaming, snowballing adventure. But, of course, you won’t understand what that means because you haven’t read the thesis… so you have absolutely no idea what you’re even addressing.

      I didn’t read past that sentence.

      Liked by 1 person

      • A thesis statement is a short statement, usually one sentence, that summarizes the main point or claim of an essay, research paper, or in this case, a book you are selling.

        Your post, which you have enhanced on from your Amazon book description, sums up your thesis just fine.

        “The evil which is amplifying through Creation is there for a purpose, there by design, growing, evolving, and it is evolving because the architect of this world—the Creator—not only draws some manner of critical pleasure from its existence, but more importantly, craves its augmentation over time.”

        That is one sentence and can serve as a thesis.

        This belief turns you to question why there is “good”. Since there is “good”, and you believe Creator “craves evil”, then you must take it to your next conclusion;

        “It is asked: If The Owner of All Infernal Names is omnipotent and omnimalevolent, why does He allow 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”.

        Hence the Title, “The Problem Of Good”.

        From your post, and Amazon introduction, I find no academic or journalistic investigation relevant to warrant buying and reading the book. You use lofty words trying to sound intelligent and with some type of authority, when it is really just a prolonged outburst of bitter, outspoken denunciation.

        I understand the challenge and accepted it with what I think is a good rebuttal yet you simple ignored it.

        “At first it might seem that if God created all things, then evil must have been created by God. However, evil is not a “thing” like a rock or electricity. You cannot have a jar of evil. Evil has no existence of its own; it is really the absence of good”.

        Everything you wrote about on the attributes of God contradict what was written. When asked, what was the greatest command, the Lord said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets”.

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      • And again, you have demonstrated a fundamental ignorance of the basic premise. I will grant you one thing, though, Roy: you are astonishingly arrogant.

        So, pretend you understand the thesis. Pretend you think I’m writing about your pantomime god. Pretend you even know what the formal challenge is. If this make-believe makes you feel good, then great. Play with your little strawman dolls all you like. Just please don’t waste my time with your pantomimes.

        If, however, you wish to engage the subject as an adult who knows what they’re actually talking about, and can address the actual subject matter, then do so. I will be more than happy to engage you on the subject. Indeed, I would be genuinely thrilled to read any formal rebuttal, and would treat any such formalised work with the appropriate gravity.

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    • as many times as you might want to claim that this version of god of yours is loving, the evidence shows nothing of the kind, not even that it exists. This god, as defined by the bible, doesn’t even succeed in meeting the definition of love *in* the bible. 1 Corinthians 13.

      “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”

      Not patient, not kind, terribly envious to the point of being murderous. Terribly proud on what it does (see the bragging in Job). Breaks its promises, does everything for itself. Easily angered, and throws tantrums. Keeps a record on *everybody* per the claims of “books of life” in Revelation. Murders people for others “sins, and when it screws up, whines, murders everyone and starts again with another plan that this omnipotent being is sure will work.

      Liked by 2 people

    • “and contradicts what is written about God’s attributes” …

      Maybe (and who can possibly argue?) it does contradict what is written about God’s attributes — but what’s written about ol’ God’s attributes, and His actual behaviours are two different things entirely.

      “Hey, God~!”

      “Yes, Argus?”

      “Sir—what is said about contradictions?”

      “Bugger … er, let me see, I have it graved down in some stones here somewhere … aaaah, yes. It is said that “Contradictions can not exist—only false premises exist“.

      “Thank you, Sir, blessings be upon thee. And I rest my case.”

      “Good luck with it Argus—I can never get through to them fundamentalists myself~!”

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Well, Zande I bought your book. I place such books as yours in my collection of un-convincing tirades (as all books like yours are) against the concept or belief in God. Nevertheless, I am glad to see that you are busy writing which has the two-fold purpose of supplying more ammunition for me and of keeping you off the streets where you might hurt yourself or someone else. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • (fixed)

      There is an astonishing amount of blindness displayed to maintain a belief in some form of an active ‘good father.’ For example, early on in the book I point to the fact that it was only 210 million years ago that life stumbled upon the mechanisms (enkephalin and opioid receptors) with which it could even begin to experience something resembling “happiness.” That means for 3.5 BILLION years, life twisted in perpetual agony without as much as the hope for the chance for corporeal relief. Could a “good father” oversee such a world?

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  12. So as it turns out, the thesis is as I thought it was…it has different words but the same meaning.

    The third review to your book, on Amazon, by Dionete, gives his rendition of the thesis, “In a nutshell, the central thesis states that good does not exist. The Problem of Good is not a problem because good has never existed, rather what appears to be good is just ways to greater evil. This fact, and I say “fact” because I could not actually fault the information, is demonstrated through case studies spanning 13.82 billion years of cosmic history. The universe is a complexity machine, a “petri dish” as Zande puts it, where evolving surrogates (everything from atoms of hydrogen to microbes and humans) are grown to explore those things the Creator cannot explore. “An uncreated asetic being cannot not be” writes Zande, and the urge to explore this oddity (not being able to die, not being able to suffer) through surrogates is the disturbingly plausible reason for why there is something rather than nothing. This is all to say, this world is “a defiled experiment draped in ethical ugliness” and the history of this universe is “a living museum to the evolution of evil”. The Creator however does not simply observe this evolving experiment like some “phlegmatic voyeur” but instead he enters into and shares our experiences, living and suffering and dying vicariously through all things.

    I see several ideas contradicting reality. I use the word reality to express 1) the world we live in and 2) what is written in the Bible.

    To think that good does not exist is idiotic. Ask any kid at the Shiners Hospital getting free treatment for cancer if good exists. When a volunteer comes to that kids room with a Golden Lad to cheer him up ask him again if good exist. Life throws us a curve ball and we do the best we can. The bounds of human generosity are limitless, those that love God and know God, know that this form we are in will expire and our mandate is to pull those below us up.

    The second sentence in Dionete’s interpretation of your thesis also contradicts the Bible. It is an interpretation outside reality. When God finished Creation he declared it Good. If life wasn’t good then you would see whole populations killing themselves. The human spirit is steadfast. In regards to human life we can substitute Good with many synonyms that are positive. They move us forward as a species, building and growing Good. Sure, some ideologies lag, but as a whole, we fight for the fundamental right to live free, free to worship and live in peace.

    The rest of Dionete’s rendition of your thesis espouses that because of your flawed view of Good is that God has attributes that contradict what is written. Terms such as, “a defiled experiment draped in ethical ugliness” and “a living museum to the evolution of evil” testify to the fact that this isn’t so much a scholarly, or academic study, but more of a tirade against the concept of God.

    When asked, what was the greatest command, the Lord said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets”.

    To think that good does not exist contradicts all life. Life is good.

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    • Curious, why do you bring up the bible? It’s not mentioned once in either book. The only acknowledgement of traditional thoughts to a benevolent god is this:

      Be it directed or free roaming, a species of callousness, of evil, explains the world that is, has been, and will be. Yesterday, today and tomorrow are made clear without a clever cover story, inventive pretext, convenient scapegoat or laboured advocacy; works of terrestrial imagination there only to rescue a pantomime Creator from the charge of incompetence while presenting an emotionally appealing apologia for why things are not as they should be had matter been persuaded to behave by a benevolent hand, rather than a coherent explanation for why things are as they are in the unignorable presence of a Creator.

      That’s it. That’s all there is.

      Naturally, this fact then renders most of your comment as categorically senseless in relation to the thesis.

      Please get this into your head: I am not talking about Yhwh, Ahura-Mazda, or Olódùmarè. I am not litigating the claims of any religion.

      Now, perhaps it was by accident, but you did touch the general outer reaches of the thesis here: “To think that good does not exist is idiotic. Ask any kid at the Shiners Hospital getting free treatment for cancer if good exists.”

      Okay, you’re talking about medicine. I go into that particular example in great detail, but let me just say, you are wrong, I demonstrate that point conclusively in the book, but here is just a snippet:

      Consider medicine in the broadest possible context.

      On first inspection few would be willing (or even capable) to see anything but immeasurable good in the wonders of modern medical practices and their astounding effects on, for example, child mortality rates and life expectancy. Since 1990, more than 100 million children’s lives have been saved through vaccinations, breast-feeding promotion, diarrhea treatment and more, and between 2000 and 2015 the global average life expectancy increased by a staggering 5 years.

      Outwardly, this mastery over the naturally corrosive effects and uncertainty of life itself appears beyond reproach, but consider the truth as revealed from a greater elevation and a broader spectrum of time: More bodies doing more things over a longer time can only be scored as a stunning augmentation in the overall market of suffering.

      It is a simple, hard, unignorable fact that a general population dying at 35 cannot, by and large, produce the same quantity or quality of suffering generated through the extended life of a general population dying at age 80 or 90. In a preferentially-scored portfolio of potential suffering, a 90 year old human avatar (exposed to the pangs of creeping irrelevance and suicidal cells) is a vastly superior product with a far greater potential yield than ten thousand babies born into some miserable sub-Saharan drought who will never live to experience dashed hopes, ruined dreams, perennial pain, psychological torment, confusion, misunderstanding, economic distress, political upheaval, love found, love lost, war, peace, prolonged anxiety, recovery, repair, disease and exhaustion in a game where warm survivors, not cold victims, are far more valuable to meeting the needs and wants of The Owner of All Infernal Names.

      This, the good of medicine, is not simply clever market specialisation but massive internal growth driven by self-generated inflationary pressure exerted across the whole system; increasing the overall size of the pie in terms of capacity, volume, output, diversity and, ultimately, its resilience to every contemporary style of foul and corrosive wind. In the human theatre, this has meant inflating from a dangerously thin, content-poor population of some 3 million individuals 35,000 years ago to an estimated 11 billion content-rich individuals by 2100.

      You conclude with a rather bold statement: Life is good.

      Is it?

      Can you actually support that statement?

      Life is bottled anxiety. Life is stitched through with the emergency of survival. Life is an arms race. Life is contracted by birth to prey upon the other in order to steal the proteins and fats and sugars it needs just to stay alive one more day in what amounts to a daily apocalypse of obliged bloodletting. Life is built upon a bedrock of fear and apprehension.

      Here’s an extract from the book demonstrating just how ancient suffering actually is:

      Suffering is not however some emergent, ultramodern phenomena there to be experienced only by those organisms who have reached a level of biological sophistication which an inattentive human mind might equate with sentience.
      The truth is far more offensive.
      Although not cognitively aware of the sensation of pain, plants (from 3.5 billion years old algae to angiosperms) not only experience suffering in the form of chemical panic felt by the entire organism via electrical impulses transmitted across the plasmodesmata, but it is now known that they live in fear of their ferociously peculiar understanding of pain.
      Located deep inside the plant genome, isolated within the first intron MPK4, lay three ancient genes (PR1, PR2, PR5) that have revealed to researchers that MPK4 is devoted to negative regulation of the PR gene expression.
      This gene expression is anticipatory.
      It is expectant.
      It is preparatory.
      It is suspicious.
      It is, in a word, fearful.
      If translated to the human experience, the PR gene expression is what a human observer would identify with as a deep-rooted, physiologically hardwired anxiety; a most ancient paranoia. It is a neurosis that rages against the night, against annihilation, and it is upon this antediluvian bedrock of fear and apprehension which all terrestrial life is raised; a gentle but persuasive insanity that has been replicated and expanded upon through increasing orders of biological complexity.

      So, can you honestly say life is good? I’d be genuinely interested to see how you might try to rationalise that claim.

      Before you do, consider this simple fact: the very mechanisms necessary to physically experience something beginning to resemble ‘happiness’ (enkephalin and opioid receptors) did not even exist in this world before some 3.5 billion years of terrestrial evolution had passed and untold billions of generations of living things had suffered enormously without as much as the hope of corporeal relief.

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      • 1) Because when you want to infer attributes to a specific being we must go to the source of knowledge available, the Bible. The Bible is the proclaimed truth. The witnesses of Jesus, his miracles, his death, his resurrection, the thousands of witnesses to the Holy Spirit’s coming, the men who walked with him and gave there lives teaching, all testify to his truth,

        I must assume the rant is against the Christian God since the majority of your exception is against He, that and, you were raised Christian. This is what you rebel against, the Christian God.

        You can skirt around your idea but there is only one God. Only one path to salvation. Only one Creator and you call him “The Owner Of All Infernal Names”. This is the God, the creator of everything that you spit on.

        You want to talk about medicine? That was never my point and you know it. My point is that we are human. We suffer and we break and we were never promised anything otherwise. The GOOD that you piss on are those that bleed tears of mercy. We hold the hands of the cancer ridden child and try to hold back our tears while holding their hands telling them that everything will be ok.

        Some of us have tough lives but we persevere. Suffering? Have you ever starved to death? Ever held your baby, unable to feed it, watching it bloat and die? You want to talk about a gene when there are millions who do not even have clean drinking water.

        Some People. They blame God for all the worlds problems and all the while sitting back sipping Margaritas doing nothing but moaning and groining. It’s a disgrace and a total lack of energy and focus.

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      • You want to talk about a gene when there are millions who do not even have clean drinking water.

        Well, yes. That is what we’re talking about here, is it not? Both things, in fact.

        I want to talk about William Paley’s surprisingly astute observation:

        “Contrivance proves design, and the predominant tendency of the contrivance indicates the disposition of the designer.”

        The predominant tendency of the contrivance does not lie, but it seems you have no intention to actually engage the subject.

        So, Roy, why are you wasting my time?

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      • Leroy wrote: … there is only one God. Oh really? Since I’m quite sure you’re referring to your “Christian God,” I have a hunch there are a few million people on this planet that would disagree with that statement.

        It continues to amaze me that Christians live in such a state of ignorance.

        Liked by 1 person

      • 2) you ask..”So, can you honestly say life is good? I’d be genuinely interested to see how you might try to rationalize that claim.”

        I almost ignored this question as being irrational. Who can actually ask a sane sentient being why life is good? Especially one who is blessed to live in the United States. Life is not good, it is great. I love everything about it. I love looking forward to tomorrow. I love the hot sun on my skin, the wind blowing my hair. Where I live we have four seasons. I love 20 degree winter because before I know it spring is here and the birds come to sing. I love looking at photos of Uncle Harry. I miss Uncle Harry so much. My wife, kids, grandkids, IRA stock portfolios, lake-front vacation property, cash, silver and gold. I love it all. But I shiver and tremble. My insight is not all to swim by myself. I pray and help and give. I have more than I’ll ever need and my tears and surplus move. It has to move, it’s the mandate.

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      • Yes, it has to move. Evolution never ends, it never ceases, never rests. The transfer and rearrangement of material is incessant. Every irreducible moment brings the New, wrote the extraordinary Robert Reed. Nothing will ever remain where it was and how it was. Matter is transformed. Energy and thought are transformed. With endless hands, the universe frantically shuffles its pieces, and every part of the universe must move and grow colder or move and grow temporarily warmer, and every possibility is manifested, and no mind finds any happiness to inhabit forever, and even what seems stable and true skids upon a razor balanced upon another razor perched upon the thinnest, keenest slice of luck.

        Roy, you speak of your temporary pleasures as if they are permanent. It’s a good example of how good is, in fact, nothing but a means to greater evil. The delights of plenty are necessary before any organism can appreciate the demoralising pains of scarcity. One must have and cherish something before one can lose that thing and lament its absence. A city cannot be razed to the ground before it is first raised up to the sky. A dream has to be launched before it can come crashing down. A thousand dreadful textures of despair have precious little context without them first being framed by a thousand expectant complexions of hope, and as Nietzsche observed, hope is the greatest of evils for it lengthens the ordeal of man.

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      • Lets take a look at your first reply.

        Contrivance most usually means something that causes things to happen.

        Does contrivance prove design? I know yes.

        Does this “contrivance” or “design” indicate the feelings of the designer? I know yes.

        God is good. What he made is good. All of us want to live. Everyone reading this wants to live or they would have swallowed a bullet already. We might struggle, we might suffer, we might take a step back for every two steps forward, we might, we might, we might, but we live and want to live and to live is good.

        Your second reply has Gods design written all over it, albeit the JZ twist. I’ll take my temporary pleasures John, even though I worked hard and long to get them. I’ll take them. It was not supper easy getting to 56 but at 61 I’ll be coasting down hill. IT IS GOOD FOR AT LEAST ONE SOUL. Let’s pray for you and all the rest.

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      • “Contrivance proves design, and the predominant tendency of the contrivance indicates the disposition of the designer.”

        Your response to Paley’s observation is: God is good. What he made is good.

        That’s it?

        The entirety of your argument is an unsupported, historically absurd statement?

        So, you’re just going to ignore the hard historical fact that life is bottled anxiety, as demonstrated in the PR1, PR2, PR5 gene expression? You’re just going to ignore the hard historical fact that it was only 210 million years ago when life stumbled upon the chemicals (enkephalin) and cellular structures (opioid receptors) with which it could begin to even recognise the first spasms of something not unlike ‘happiness’?

        These are just two examples I presented, and you have ignored answering them.

        I assume, then, you’re not at all prepared to discuss the stunning history of aposematic fear, and how that has driven the appallingly efficient biological arms race on this particular planet.

        I assume, then, you’re not at all prepared to discuss the unignorable fact that this world you call “good” is a complexity machine: a self-enriching engine spilling out from a state of ancestral simplicity to contemporary complexity where the greater talents awarded to each succeeding generation of things have always produced evil proportionate to the extent of their powers. Roy, is it not the case that this particular rocky world of genes and then memes produced prokaryotes before eukaryotes, fashioned ion channels before primitive action potentials, engendered neuroreceptors before antique nerve nets, birthed bilateral nervous systems before central nervous systems, spawned pons before hindbrains, issued cerebellums before cerebrums, grew white matter before grey matter, fathered talons before arrow tips, hatched incisors before hydrogen bombs, welcomed hunter-gatherers before gunsmiths, minted potters before chemical engineers, and begot corporeal barter systems before ethereal derivative trading?

        This strikes to the heart of Paley’s observation, and manifestly, Roy, this passage from the simple to the complex is not a mistake. This habitual, intuitive urge to self-embellishment is not an accident. Tensions stitched into the deepest recesses of Creation have always favoured one direction for the sweet debris of existence to be expelled, and that debris field is a 13.82 billion years long record of increasing orders of suffering. Creation, Roy, is a living museum to the evolution of evil. By simple but persuasive design the old and the ordinary yield to the new and the exciting, and with the new comes more energetic and capable families of physiological, emotional, psychological and, more recently, economic and technological pain. Indeed, for organisms whose fitness depends only on their own sequence information, physical complexity (be it genetic, behavioural, cultural, technological or economic) must always increase, and as it does so too does that organism’s exposure to an ever more potent ecology of potential suffering; both real and, with the appropriate neurological capacity, imagined in a million busy little paranoia’s.

        This is an established and irrefutable historical fact of this world…. But it appears history is far too awkward for you to engage.

        Your last paragraph is interesting in so far as it is really nothing but another wonderful example of how ‘good’ is simply a mechanism to greater evil. By your boasting (and past comments) it is clear you’re a greedy, pride-filled glutton; a soft-skinned pig playing with his mud, terrified of it ever being taken away. Your capacity for gluttony and the tiny little trinkets you cling to (and draw a sense of identity from) are the result of the remarkable “good” of adhesion molecules, kinases, the mutation in the GKPID protein and the Hox and ParaHox gene clusters. Without that string of seemingly impossible good (good which enabled bones and tissue to be built that enabled children to skip and to play and to climb and to delight under a summer sun) you could not be the glutton you so clearly are, and a world without gluttony, Roy, is a world where no individual in need could ever be appalled at another’s waste.

        As expected, though, you have neither the emotional soundness nor intellectual capacity to actually engage this subject at the level I have presented.

        So the question remains: why are you wasting my time, Roy?

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  13. So I’m a little bored, wife’s watching Blue Bloods on the DVR.

    I find this exact line at Stephen Laws site. “I: THE EVIL GOD CHALLENGE” and a little farther down the page, a heading “The problem of good”.

    lawpapers.blogspot.com/2009/06/evil-god-challenge-forthcoming-in.html

    Seems your book is not your original idea. Plagiarism is a stretch but old non-original idea rings true. Dead argument refuted and already successfully challenged.

    I also find the same rip off at

    stephenlaw.blogspot.com/2008/12/could-it-be-pretty-obvious-theres-no.html

    Where there is a heading, “The evil God hypothesis and the problem of good.

    The difference between his posts and your book is marginal. Both try to argue that good is a problem and that god is evil.

    His 2008 post garnered dozens upon dozens of post and he replied one time. He never replied to comments on the 2009 post.

    Seems also William Lane Craig butted heads with Stephen Law over this issue 4 years ago.

    Craig points to the fact there is irrefutable evidence for a historical Jesus from hostile Roman and Jewish historians. Also that in a moment in time when Roman ruled Judea there emerged a group of people labeled Christians by the same hostile historians and that they were hated and persecuted.

    Jewish Messianic expectations included no idea of a Davidic Messiah who, instead of throwing off Israel’s enemies and establishing David’s throne in Jerusalem, would be shamefully executed by them as a criminal. Jesus’ crucifixion was something the early church struggled to overcome, not something it invented. Jesus’ crucifixion is one fact upon which all historical scholars, even the most radical, agree.

    Every thing you think you know about life, about God, about good and evil is wrong. You look through a filter. Your timing belt is off a bit so things run ruff. The points aren’t firing on all cylinders. You deny written history because for a specific hurt, God in your determination is a myth. Your specific determination, no matter what argument you invent, or copy, runs contrary to history and the world around us. There is evil and there is good and they struggle and there is a reason. They co-exist. To deny the fact we struggle is a vote to forfeit and forfeiting can not be an option.

    Your name calling and hate I forgive. I forgive you John for calling me, “a greedy, pride-filled glutton; a soft-skinned pig playing with his mud”. I forgive you and set you free. My prayer for you is that one day, if it be God’s will, you find peace with Him.

    A side note, how about another pic of your pup(s). I have two rescues. I have a little 16 pound Chiwawa-Terrier mix. Just killed his third squirrel. When we got him at the shelter and they said his name was Shelton. After 5 minutes with that little dude I told my wife he ain’t no Shelton, his new name is T Rex. Turns out I was right, he’s fearless.

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    • Can you point me to where I ever claim TOOAIN is an original idea? I believe people have been thinking about the evil god (see demiurge) ever since dreaming up his fun-loving alternative.

      Law’s evil god challenge is great, but he never goes into the theology of what the god would actually look like, or why such a god would behave the way he does. In case you missed that part, that’s not the purpose of his challenge.

      This is Nina, she joined us about two months ago.

      Liked by 1 person

      • She is precious. Good work dad.

        What does TOOAIN mean?

        There is no such thing as an evil God. You circumstance, you life story, does not qualify to deem my God as evil. Every soul has a story and many contradict yours??

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      • TOOAIN: The Owner of All Infernal Names; a being who does not share His creation with any other comparable spirit, does not seek to be known to or worshipped by that which He has created (or has allowed to be created), and whose greatest proof of existence is that there is no conspicuous proof of His existence—just teleological birthmarks that can be isolated and examined as testimony—for He understands that the instruments of His inquisition must be blind to the nature of the world they inhabit so they may act freely and suffer genuinely.

        Yes, she’s lovely, and will have an operation on Tuesday to remove her tail. It was infested with maggots when we found her and we’ve (our vets) been slowly cutting back the dead and dying bits. Tuesday it’s the whole thing.

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      • Pretty much, just like 7th Century BCE Judeans made up Yhwh. Difference being, TOOAIN is exampled through the world.

        The idea, though, was seeded after reading Christopher News’ 1993 paper, “Antitheism, A Reflection”

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      • Made up make believe? And your serious?

        7th Century BCE Judeans didn’t make up anything. Historians back then wrote as things happened, just like today. Nothing was written as history 700 years later just like no historian today chronicles historical facts that happened in 1999,

        It’s a flaw a mile wide. Only the naïve buy into pyramid schemes.

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      • Right? I say so! No. History says so.

        A voice in the wilderness a long time ago gave a cry to repent and he ended up getting his head chopped off.

        Your love for the four legged friend fills my heart. I just paid $350 to get my older dogs teeth cleaned and pull four rotten ones out. We got lucky the canines and molars were fine. My kids are long gone and have kids of their own. Cece and Rex fill that void. Your a good man for taking care of those discarded pups!

        A dozen plus atheist’s post here and I have no propulsion to seek out their sites and engage. Well, there was Nan’s invitation, but she couldn’t handle anything resembling sense so I got banned. You do not censor different opinions Then Inspired makes up some nonsense about me posting as a woman, Dumb…I was the monkey, but he had balls, I’ll just stay hear, if that’s alright.

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