The Problem of Evil for the Atheist

One student asks Dr. Turek why God would allow evil in the world, he then explains why evil ends up as more of a problem for the atheist then the theist.

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10 comments

  1. FT: The Problem of Evil for the atheist
    https://beardeddisciple.com/2018/05/24/the-problem-of-evil-for-the-atheist/
    There are sick children with cancer: it seems like a perfect god would not allow such children to die (T)
    Such children do die (T)
    Thus there seems to be no perfect being (T)
    FT: When we (FT and others say) “good” they mean “god” (usually false).
    FT: God is the standard of good (F, and conflicts with the above)
    CSL: The shadows prove the sunshine (F: shadows can be produced without sunshine)
    FT: In order to have shadows, you have to have sunshine (F)
    FT: In order to have evil (cancer kids), you have to have good (no cancer kids) (F).
    You can have good (no cancer kids) without there being evil (cancer kids) (T)
    Thus “Evil doesn’t disprove God” (F: cancer kids still disprove a perfect being)
    b/c there would be no evil if there weren’t good (F: murders don’t require hugs)
    FT: there would be no good unless god existed (F: hugs would still exist)
    FT: Fry is stealing from god (F: Fry is appealing to existing things that don’t entail god, like cancer kids)
    FT: Fry steals from god to say that cancer is evil (unkind, hurtful, not what a perfect being would do) (F)
    If God doesn’t exist, we can’t know that cancer is hurtful, unkind, etc. (F)
    If God does exist, then (and only then) can we know that cancer is unkind, hurtful, etc (F)
    If God does not exist, one can’t justify that cancer is something a loving being would try to stop (F)
    If Atheism is true we are “just” overgrown germs (F: we are more than Just that, and it doesn’t change that cancer/murder is something a loving being/overgrown germ would try to stop)
    Overgrown germs don’t go anywhere (F)
    Eventually overgrown germs (like ourselves) will become worm food (usually) (T)
    If there is no god, there is no ultimate (godly/eternal) meaning to anything (T)
    SO (this shows) Fry is stealing from God (F) in saying a loving being would stop cancer kids (F)
    FT: I don’t know why a perfect being let this particular baby die (T)
    But this doesn’t show that a perfect being probably doesn’t exist (F)
    A (cancer?) baby “Might” bring great good out of evil/save the world, etc. (T)
    This disproves the LPOE (T). This disproves the EPOE (F)
    So God might be justified in letting cancer babies die (T)
    And Hitler “might” be justified in killing the people he killed (T)
    We should say both of those are probable (F)
    We should say both of those are not probable (T)
    If we were God, we wouldn’t change a thing (F)
    This is a perfect world (F). It can be no better (F)
    There is a god, who is perfect, who sees all, and thus knows that everything that happens is perfect (F)
    To summarize:
    God doesn’t need to exist for hugs to exist, and for loving people to exist (for “good” to exist).
    As far as we know, kids dying of cancer is something imperfect, something loving people would try to stop.
    This is not a perfect world. It could be better. This shows that a perfect being probably doesn’t exist.

    1. Honestly I can’t reply to this because you don’t put anything into an actual logical syllogism to disprove there is so much unrelated ungrounded or otherwise logically invalid things going on here that it would take to much to reply. Put your argument into a logical syllogism and we can take it from there.

  2. Hi BD,
    You could reply. I have made assertions about what is true and false about the original argument. I have made it clear what my views are. I did this so that you could figure out where you agree, and where you disagree. If you disagree, you could make your case again, showing that my evaluation is inaccurate.
    But I will try to put my assertions into logical form for you.
    You say “there is so much unrelated, ungrounded, or otherwise logically invalid things going on here”. Such as? Why don’t you give some examples?

    A1:
    Sick children with cancer exist
    It would seem that a perfect God would not allow such children to die.
    Such children do die.
    Thus it looks like there is no prefect God.
    (Those were my first 4 lines: it seems you could have seen this argument).

    A2:
    There are many meanings of “good”
    There are many standards people use to evaluate the “goodness” of an action
    There is no known God
    Thus it is false to say “God is THE standard of good”

    A3.
    FT: When we (FT and others say) “good” they mean “god”
    FT: God is the standard of good
    Thus, according to this reasoning, God is the standard of God.
    (This is an odd thing to say, and it is unclear what it says, but there is no perfect being).

    A4:
    CSL: The shadows prove the sunshine
    FT: In order to have shadows, you have to have sunshine.
    Shadows can be produced without sunshine.
    Thus it is false to say “the shadows (always) prove the sunshine”, or to say, “in order to have shadows, you have to have sunshine”.
    But yes, it is true, that shadows sometimes make it probable that there is sunshine.

    A5:
    There are cancer kids
    FT: It would be a worse/a less perfect world if there were any fewer cancer kids
    If there were fewer kids with cancer, or fewer rapes, the world would be “better”, happier, less painful, etc.
    Thus it is false that “a world with fewer kids with cancer would be worse”.

    A6
    FT: “evil (kids dying of cancer) doesn’t disprove God
    Kids die of cancer.
    If they didn’t, the world would be a better place.
    A perfect doctor would try to cure those kids of cancer (Prima Facie)
    A perfect being would cure those kids of cancer (Prima Facie)
    Thus a prefect being probably doesn’t exist.

    A7:
    FT: “there would be no evil if there weren’t good (F: murders don’t require hugs)
    Murders (evil) exist
    Hugs (good things) exist
    Hugs can exist without murder. (it’s logically possible)
    FT says there would be no murder if there were no hugs.
    But you can have murder without hugs and vice versa.
    Thus it is false to say “there would be no evil if there were no good.

    A8:
    FT: there would be no good unless god existed (F: hugs would still exist)
    Hugs are “good” (compared to murder)
    If there were no god, hugs would probably still exist.
    Thus it is false that “there would be no good unless God existed”

    A9:
    FT: Fry is stealing from god (F: Fry is appealing to existing things that don’t entail god, like cancer kids)
    God doesn’t exist (as far as we know)
    Thus it is false that “Fry is stealing from God”.

    1. A10
      FT: Fry steals from god to say that cancer is evil (unkind, hurtful, not what a perfect being would do)
      Cancer is evil: unkind, hurtful, not what a perfect being would allow (Prima Facie).
      We can know that things are hurtful or unkind even though God does not exist.
      Thus it is false to say “Fry steals from God to say that cancer is evil”.

      A11:
      FT: If God doesn’t exist, we can’t know that cancer is “evil”: hurtful, unkind, etc. (F)
      We know cancer exists (even without God!)
      We know that cancer is usually unwanted, harmful, etc.
      Nothing about our having this knowledge requires God.
      So it is false to say “if God doesn’t exist, we can’t know that cancer is evil”.

      A12:
      FT: If God does not exist, one can’t justify that cancer is something a loving being would try to stop
      Cancer exists.
      Loving people exist.
      Love typically involves trying to be kind and helpful to others
      A mean person doesn’t usually try to help others
      A loving person does
      Stopping a person’s cancer would be a kind, helpful, loving thing to do
      Thus it is false that “one can’t justify that cancer is something a loving being would try to stop”.

      A13:
      FT: If Atheism is true we are “just” overgrown germs
      Germs exist
      We are larger than germs. (So we are “overgrown” in a sense)
      We are not identical to germs. (so we are not “just” overgrown germs)
      Nothing about the fact that we are similar to germs in some ways shows that atheism is false.
      We can build planes. Germs cannot. Thus we are not “just” overgrown germs.
      If there is no god, there is no ultimate (godly/eternal) meaning to anything
      We don’t know God to exist
      Thus we don’t know there to be a godly meaning to anything.
      Thus nothing here shows that “Fry is stealing from God in saying a loving being would stop cancer kids”.

      A14:
      FT: I don’t know why a perfect being let this particular baby die
      Babies with cancer sometimes die.
      It seems that a perfect being would stop much of that
      Much of that happens.
      Thus Frank Turek is rightly confused.
      What follows though is that a perfect being probably doesn’t exist
      A (cancer?) baby “Might” bring great good out of evil/save the world, etc.
      This disproves the LPOE
      This fails to disprove the EPOE
      Thus, while God might exist, God probably doesn’t exist, given cancer deaths.

      A15:
      FT: If we were God, we wouldn’t change a thing.
      If we were more powerful or kinder, there are things we would do differently.
      If we were all powerful, there are some projects that we would do that we now can’t.
      If we were all loving, there are some actions we would do that we now can’t/don’t.
      Thus, if we were God, there are things we would change.
      Thus, FT is wrong in saying that “if we were God, we wouldn’t change a thing”.

      A16:
      FT: “This is a perfect world”
      Diseases exist
      Doctors try to fix people and often do.
      Murder and Rape exist.
      Thus this is probably not a perfect world.

  3. I think a lot of these things can be answered with what the fall has brought into the world. When man was given choice and he chose not to follow God he brought the entire world out of how it should be. In essence then the world is not perfect because man has fallen and brought the world out of perfection and out of what God intended. This video I think will explain it well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zy2AQlK6C5k

    You may also want to actually look over some logic courses or videos most if not all of your assertions are still not in logical form. I just grabbed a video youtube here that may be helpful for you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTVTqjqqhrw

    I’ll try to help you and put some in logical form.

    P1: The world would be more perfect if there were less rapes and murders
    P2: A omnibenovolent and omnipowerful god would make the most perfect world
    C: Therefore, an omnibenovolent and omnipowerful god must not exist.

    If first two premises of this argument are true then the conclusion must follow. Which means this is a valid argument.

    I of course agree with P2. But I see wiggle room in P1. If as Christianity believes there is a heaven and hell then someones death is not the most evil thing in the world but someone ending up in heaven is. That being said people having cancer may help some to realize that life is not eternal and they should explore and understand what is going to happen in the afterlife. So one child with cancer may result in many people going to heaven. It may seem like a stretch but I’ve seen where someone having cancer has actually brought them to the Lord, which is a greator good then them living through cancer.

    You seem to be confused in a few of your assertions (syllogisms) that the FT was saying good cannot exist without bad. That’s not what it is saying but that bad cannot exist without good.

    Trying to deal with some of your syllogisms:

    A1 is basically the argument I dealt with above.

    A2: I disagree that there are many meanings of good. There is disagreement on what that good is by some but that no more makes an actual different true meaning of good then if I said 2+2=5 and you said 2+2=4. One might say we have different meanings of what 2+2 is but in reality my ‘meaning’ is just simply wrong. If someone said rape was good would you simply say that is their meaning of good or would you say their meaning of good is wrong?

    A3: To say that God is the standard for himself or that God is God is simply a tautology. There is nothing logically wrong with that statement. what is the standard for a ruler for instance? Would it not be a ruler? When you say there is no perfect being you are just asserting your conclusion you haven’t made an argument there.

    A4: Really? I think you see and understand his point here. You need light for shadows. Maybe not sunlight but you get the point.

    A5: Basically once again asseerting what I first dealt with in this post.

    A6: You’re argument once again ignores the greater good that could be achieved by someone having cancer as both Turek and I point out by saying many other people may be saved from hell because of those kids with cancer and therefore it causes more good than bad.

    A7-8: You’ve simply inserted a wrong equal of good and bad here. Certainly hugs are not on the same weight of good as murder is of weight of good. Murder is ending life, the opposite of that would be creating life. If no life was created (good) then murder could not exist (bad). Therefore, the bad (Murder) requires the existence of the good (creation).

    A9-11: You say that he is appealing to things that exist. Yes, but Turek’s point is that morality itself comes from God. He didn’t explain that thuroughly there. By what foundation are you able to say that cancer is bad if God does not exist? If God does not exist then we are all the results of evolution. Cancer is simply weeding out the week to move evolution along. Why would that be evil?

    You can know that cancer exists. You can know that cancer is evil, but you cannot justify why cancer is evil because the athiest who says cancer is simply a good mechanism of evolution killing off the weak has just as much reason for their belief as you.

    A12: You here throw out love as an ultimate good. But why should anyone accept that? I agree with you but as an athiest you have no foundation to ground that. If another athiest says selfishness is the greatest trait and trumps love everytime you have nothing to justify it. While the theist points to a loving God and says that God being the standard of good means that selfishness is not better then love even if someone believes it is.

    A13:

    A14: I don’t know what you mean by LPOE and EPOE
    Outside of that you’ve admitted first that good might come from a cancer baby and therefore a God might exist. Which is really all I need. Essentially this means that evil (cancer) can exist with a Christian God. You can argue that it’s unlikely but I would say that is other things that prove that God exists.

    A15: I simply disagree with the fact we would change things. If we knew the things that God does we would realize that there are good things that come from the things that we see as evil. If your son broke his leg you may say this is evil and you would have stoped if you could have. But when a malitia comes and takes all the able bodied men from you city and leaves your son because of his leg you may see it as a good thing. This is how God sees. We don’t see how good can come from cancer but he sees more than we do.

    A16: This isn’t a perfect world. It’s a fallen world. Cancer isn’t here because God meant it to be here. Think of the first video I linked. God makes good from the evil but that doesn’t mean it’s what he wanted or that this world is perfect. It’s not perfect.

  4. Thanks for replying, BD.
    This debate doesn’t get to assume that God already exists. if we do that, the conversation is already over. The issue is whether evil makes it improbable that God exists. I’ve shown that it does. You don’t undo that by saying, “but elsewhere I believe that God has been shown to exist”.
    You show that you assume already what we are debating when you say “When man was given choice and he chose not to follow God he brought the entire world out of how it should be. “. This seems false. We do have “choices”, but God does not exist, so this statement is false.
    Also, is any of what you just said there pertinent to our discussion? It seems not.
    “the world is not perfect”. Agreed. There are murders, etc. This is why there probably isn’t a perfect world.
    “… because man has fallen and brought the world out of perfection and out of what God intended.” Humans do mean things (“are fallen”) but none of that has anything to do with God (which doesn’t exist).
    You link a video about God and space and Heaven. If I get the time, I will watch it. For now, if you think it makes points relevant to our discussion, state those points.
    As to Logical Form: my arguments are already in that state, minus the clear indicator of Ps and Cs. (Such things are also indicated by words like “Thus”, which I used throughout my response above).
    So, nothing about my failure to say P1 before my first premise (line) seems to have caused any problem for my actual argument that I made. If it helps, you can go back and assume that line 1 is P1, and line 2 is P2, and the last line (the one I indicated with “thus”) is the Conclusion.
    I’m not sure you understand the difference between Inductive and Deductive Logic (I suppose I should tell you that I’ve been teaching Logic for 20 years). This is indicated when you aren’t familiar with the LPOE/EPOE distinction. And it is indicated when you give an example in Logical form using “must” in the conclusion. Deductive arguments claim that the conclusion necessarily (“must”) follows. I’m making Inductive arguments, claiming that the conclusion probably follows.
    Your example:
    P1: The world would be more perfect if there were less rapes and murders
    P2: A omnibenovolent and omnipowerful god would make the most perfect world
    C: Therefore, an omnibenovolent and omnipowerful god must not exist.
    is an example of a Deductive argument. This is typically referred to the as the LPOE: The Logical (Deductive) Problem of Evil. It claims to show that God necessary does not exist. I already granted that this argument fails. I then claimed that God probably doesn’t exist, given those 2 premises. That’s an example of the EPOE (the Evidential, or Probabilistic Problem of Evil). This argument succeeds. The 2 premises makes the conclusion likely.
    So all your concerns about “validity” are irrelevant here, since I’m only defending an inductive argument.
    The good news is that we then can evaluate those premises in the EPOE argument. You agree that P2 is true. You then challenge P1 (sort of).
    P1: The world would be more perfect (better) if there were fewer rapes.
    So your claim is that’s false (!). Pretty amazing stuff. Regardless, the prima facie evidence is that rape is an imperfection (rather than a perfection). So thus far, you haven’t shown that P1 is false.
    You say “But I see wiggle room in P1.”. And there is! Murder might be part of perfection! (such in the case of killing Bin Laden). That’s why the LPOE will always fail. But such “wiggle room” and “might’s” don’t affect the EPOE.
    You then say, (without using any logical Form, mind you), “If as Christianity believes there is a heaven and hell then someones death is not the most evil thing in the world but someone ending up in heaven is.”
    You then say ” That being said people having cancer may help some to realize that life is not eternal and they should explore and understand what is going to happen in the afterlife. So one child with cancer may result in many people going to heaven. It may seem like a stretch but I’ve seen where someone having cancer has actually brought them to the Lord, which is a greator good then them living through cancer.”
    “may”, “may” “may”. You are right! Such things might exist, and might happen. These possibilities are enough to refute the LPOE! But they do nothing about the EPOE. To refute that, you have to show that (virtually) all evils are really not evil, but for the greater good. While letting a child struggle to learn to ride a bike is probably for the greater good, letting your child be raped is probably not.
    You then say “(FT was saying) “that bad cannot exist without good”. But murder can exist without hugs, and hugs can exist without murder. Thus FT is wrong. What he seems to want to say is that, in our world, there are both things. But nothing about such a truth changes the fact that the POE shows that God probably doesn’t exist.
    You then respond to my A2 argument, not using Logical Form: my point is that if I respond to FT’s argument without using logical form, and your respond to my arguments without using logical form, you can’t then criticize my doing it without being inconsistent.
    As to A2: You say, “I disagree that there are many meanings of ‘good’.”. Well, read a dictionary, and you will find that there are indeed many meanings of that word. It’s a word that is used by many different people in many different ways. I am talking about the meaning of words. Hopefully you don’t think I was talking about the meaning of objects, although if you meant the meaning of properties, even words like “strength” (and the property of “strength” can and often does have different meanings to different people.)
    That 2+2 always equals 4 is not analogous to “good” always means “well-behaved” (or whatever you put in that spot). “good” can and often does mean many things to many people. While you can says someone speaks inaccurately (is wrong) in saying 2+2 = 5, you can’t say someone always speaks inaccurately in saying “good” means (to them) “handsome”, “thoughtful”, etc.
    Cutting through all this: if someone said “rape was kind and did no harm”, they would be wrong, if they meant what you and I probably mean by all those terms. But saying rape is “good” could mean lots of things, such as “rape increases the number of people on the planet at Time X”, and that might even be true, depending on the time and place in which it was asserted. All I’m looking for here is to make sure that we agree on the meanings of the terms we are discussing. “good” is pretty over-used, so when you use it, it would help if you told me what meaning of that word you were using.

    A3: to say that God is God is a tautology. There is no God, and no standard that we know that god uses in any context. We do know what a perfect being, using OUR understanding/standard of perfection (like being all loving, and not all rape-y), would do.
    Nothing shows that a perfect being (God) exists, and uses himself (huh?) as the standard for anything.
    I’m not just saying there is no perfect being. I’ve also shown such a being to be improbable. (see the many arguments above that I’ve made.
    A4: You imply, but seem to refuse to say, that I am technically right: you don’t need the sunshine for the shadows. I then move on to say that yes, you need something like light/a light source to get shadows, usually. No, I don’t see any point FT makes here that helps prove anything about morality or God. If you see such a point, make the argument.
    A6: you say “You’re (sic) argument once again ignores the greater good that could be achieved by someone having cancer as both Turek and I point out by saying many other people may be saved from hell because of those kids with cancer and therefore it causes more good than bad.” “could” and “may”. I agree! The LPOE fails! But none of this affects the EPOE, which is what I’ve been arguing. This confusion would explain a lot of why you think my argument fails, b/c you thought I was making the LPOE, a deductive argument, against God. I was not. As a result, all of your comments of “but maybe not” are irrelevant to my EPOE.

    A7-8: You say, “You’ve simply inserted a wrong equal of good and bad here. “. That’s a strange phrase. What does it mean?
    You then say, “Certainly hugs are not on the same weight of good as murder is of weight of good.”. Yes, hugs and murder are not the same in terms of lovingness/kindness. (I never said otherwise).

    Here’s your “syllogism”:
    1. Murder is ending life. (that’s usually true: but not, if you are a Christian!)
    2. Ending life is the opposite of creating life (sort of: The Logical opposite of ending life is NOT ending life).
    3. If no life was created (good) then murder could not exist (bad).
    4. Therefore, the bad (Murder) requires the existence of the good (creation).
    You seem to be trying to say that for A to murder/take away the life of B, that requires there B be alive at one point. That’s true. Nothing about that is relevant to refuting the POE argument I’ve given, proving God, disproving Atheism, etc. That there must be life in order for there to be a murder (the taking of a life) does nothing to show that a perfect being probably wouldn’t stop murders if it could.
    A9-11:You say, “Turek’s point is that morality itself comes from God.” But this is false. (Feel free to prove otherwise). You admit that this hasn’t been proven when you say, ” He didn’t explain that thuroughly there.”. In reality, the things we know of: people, harmful actions, loving actions, etc, have nothing (that we know of) to do with God/a perfect being.
    You then switch gears (for the first time, good for you) by asking some questions (which is a poor thing to do if you are arguing/making points/trying to refute what I’m saying). Greg Koukl (famous Christian Apologist) says that I should say to you, what’s the point you are trying to make with your questions? (and then I should be silent). So, I will ask you, what’s the relevance of your questions, but I will also try to answer them (Sorry GK).
    You ask, ” By what foundation are you able to say that cancer is bad if God does not exist?”. This seems to be like saying, if God does not exist, you can’t say that dogs exist, or that anyone has violated the speed limit, etc. All such assertions are false. Nothing changes about our reality even though God does not exist. As to cancer:
    Cancer exists
    It is “bad”: it does harm, it is often unwanted, it usually shortens life, etc. None of those truths require God. They only require a meaning to those terms (which you probably are familiar with), and scientific/experiential evidence for them (which we have, even without God).
    So I can say “cancer is bad”, and it can be true, even without God, if I mean “cancer shortens life and is unwanted by X”, if our non-godly scientific evidence shows that to be the case, which it often/usually does.
    You say, ” If God does not exist then we are all the results of evolution.”. This doesn’t follow. But it seems also true that “if God does exist, then we are also the result of evolution”. Nothing here seems relevant to anything I’ve said above.
    You then say, “Cancer is simply weeding out the week (sic) to move evolution along.” You wrongly use the word “simply”. Cancer is still much more than simply weeding out the “weak”: it is also (usually) unwanted by most people, and harmful, and painful, etc.
    You then say, “Why would that be evil?”. If you mean, “why would one’s life being shortened be something one wished or tried to avoid”, the answer is, “because/if a being prefers to life longer, enjoys the movies, seeing her grandkids, etc”.
    So there are perfectly good, non Godly answers to these questions, assuming these questions are meaningfully put, like I interpreted above.
    If you mean something else by “evil”, then you will have to say what that is, and then you may as well answer your own question as to whether cancer has that property. I’ve shown that cancer usually has the property of being “unwanted” and of “shortening one’s life”. I’m not claiming that “evil” means anything significantly different than those sorts of things.
    Yes, I can know that cancer exists. Yes, I can know that cancer shortens life and is unwanted. Whether or not I can justify/explain why cancer shortens one’s life is irrelevant to anything I’ve said above. Science of course has explained much about why cancer shortens one’s life.
    I’ve not said, nor is any atheist required to say/believe, that “cancer is simply a good mechanism of evolution killing off the weak. Yes, cancer is a mechanism that does kill off some weak people. Nothing about that is relevant here.
    I think you mean to say, but some people might find “shorten one’s (or another’s) life” to be “good”/valuable/desired. That’s true. Nothing about that changes the fact that a loving person, prima facie, would stop killing, and a mean person would not (or would be less likely to, etc.)
    A12: You say, “You here throw out love as an ultimate good.” Where did I say that? What I do say is that we are discussing the likelihood of an all loving being. I never said “love is an ultimate good”. But if God is all loving, and that means what it probably means to you and I (not punching people in the face, prima facie, etc), then allowing rapes is probably not what an all loving being would do.
    “why should anyone accept that?” I think you mean: what forces anyone else to regard “love” as their ultimate good? To that the answer is: nothing. Nor did I say that something did.
    You then say, “as an athiest you have no foundation to ground that.” The “that” seems to refer to my preference for love. I can ground many things, like why I bought that car: to get from point A to point B. But no one can ground all things. Thus even though it is true that I might not be able to “ground” (which you should explain) why I value some things (like “love”) more than others, nothing about this helps prove that God exists.
    You say: “If another athiest (sic) says selfishness is the greatest trait and trumps love everytime you have nothing to justify it.”. First, the atheist who says this needs to explain what “greatest” means. If the atheist means “selfishness is the most important thing/the thing I most value”, then yes that is possible. But if they claim “selfishness is the greatest trait at making friends”, then the scientific facts may prove them wrong. Again, none of this proves God, nor disproves anything I’ve said above.
    You say, “While the theist points to a loving God”. False, there is no God pointed to. This is ironic given that, for most theists, God is not a “thing” that can be “pointed” to, as God is supposedly “immaterial”. Regardless, the theist hasn’t proven that God exists, so it is not true that any theists have pointed to God. What you might say is that theists point to the Bible. That’s often true.
    Theists might say that selfishness is not better than love. They might even be right! But the problem here, as above, is that you have failed to explain any meaningful sense of “better”. Again, if theists claim, “selfishness is not better than loving behavior at getting yourself invited to a birthday party”, that might be often true. But things aren’t just “better” full stop. They are “better” at certain things, at certain times, etc: Conventional medicine is usually “better” at healing people of their cancer than are voodoo dances, etc.

    I agree though: if X believes that “punches others is better at making friends than is hugging”, they are wrong, and their belief itself doesn’t change that fact.
    A14: The LPOE and the EPOE: explained above. Yes, good (well being, happiness, joy, etc.) might come from a cancer baby, and God might exist. But probably not.
    You say, “a God might exist. Which is really all I need.” It seems clear that you are only addressing the LPOE, for you need much more (actual evidence, not just possibilities) to overcome the EPOE.
    You say “You can argue that it’s unlikely but I would say that is other things that prove that God exists.”. It is unlikely that all rapes serve a greater good. It is possible, but not likely, as far as we know. You don’t give any evidence to show otherwise.
    A15: “I simply disagree with the fact we would change things.”. When loving people find out that their relatives are sick, they try to do things like find them cures, give them comfort, etc. When loving people see someone in danger, they do things like try to stop the danger, etc. So all loving people would probably do things differently. Loving people try to stop rapes. Your position is that all rapes are probable for the greater good (and thus no perfect being would stop them/change things). This is false, according to the evidence we have. Rapes look like things loving people would try to stop.
    ” If we knew the things that God does we would realize that there are good things that come from the things that we see as evil.” God doesn’t exist, and thus we don’t know anything that God knows. There are sometimes good things that come from evil, and sometimes not. There are also sometimes evil things that come from good, and sometimes not. It’s a mixed bag. It is not all perfect, probably. Nor is it all imperfect/completely bad/evil/unwanted/hurtful, etc.
    If your neighbor broke your son’s leg, you should call it evil: unwanted, mean, hurtful, etc. Yes, it might be the case that he broke it so that a million cancer babies would be saved (for the greater good), but probably not. Until we know that latter outcome is probable, we would be right to say that the neighbor is “unloving”.
    If a neighbor breaks your son’s leg it would still be unloving, even if amazingly the next day, that act saved your son’s life. (This is the Ravi Z example). But if you knew that breaking your son’s leg would save your son’s life, that would not be unloving: it would be loving: for the greater good. Some acts are like that. And MANY are not! So the problem of evil persists. The POE doesn’t claim that no actions are for the greater good. It claims that many are not, as far as we know. And that claim is accurate.
    You then say, “This is how God sees. We don’t see how good can come from cancer but he sees more than we do.”. This is false. God doesn’t exist. We don’t know that God exists and “sees” that all rapes are actually for the greater good. That’s possible, but not probable.
    A16: You say, “This isn’t a perfect world.” Exactly! that’s why there probably isn’t a perfect being.
    You say, “Cancer isn’t here because God meant it to be here.”. That’s right! Because God doesn’t exist! Cancer is here for other (biological, environmental) reasons.
    “God makes good from the evil”. There is no (good, probable) evidence of this. Nor is there good evidence that God has good (loving) reasons for letting all these rapes happen.
    I hope this clears up everything! I’ve shown God, a perfect in all ways being, probably doesn’t exist, given the many hurtful, undesired, things there are in the world, like rape and murder. Luckily, there are many loving people (and organizations) who exist who try to stop such things. God just isn’t one of them. Unfortunately, humans are not all powerful (nor always all loving), and thus much evil (harm, etc.) exists.

  5. I don’t think I’ve assumed that God exists in any of this. I’ve simply explained how though evil exists it doesn’t rule out the possibility that God exists.

    You have assumed that God doesn’t exist when you said “We do have “choices”, but God does not exist, so this statement is false.” You’re the one ending the debate not me.

    If you don’t want to hear the whole worldview which is what explains how evil exists for the theist then you are rulling out the existance of God before the debate has begun. You saying that.

    As for the video it’s about 5 minutes so I think you can make the time. You replied to my long reply within 24 hours. You could have simply waited a day to find the time to watch it. If you can’t take the time for that sort of thing then I don’t really see much of a point in continuing discussion. I still explained the points by simply explaining how the fall shows that the world is not as it should be or as how God desired it to be despite him allowing for it by giving us free will. If you want to take the fall of creation/man out of this discussion when discussing evil in the world then the discussion is over. Christianity requires the fall to explain evil. You asking me to explain it without the fall would be like me asking you to prove evolution without using science, they kind of work together. In essence you would be asking me to defend the Christian worldview while we assume the Christian worldview is false.

    My reason for criticizing your syllogisms is that they often confuse arguments and throw in rather unconnected arguments into it and I frankly don’t understand what I am supposed to argue against as a result. You’re arguments are hard to follow and unclear, I was trying to better understand your points.

    You contradict yourself at one point. When at one point you say that someones desire to live makes cancer bad you are basing something as being bad or good upon a persons desires, which change. Someone who wants to die then can see cancer as good. Or a Nazi who gives cancer to all Jews would see cancer as good. But later you say that punching is inherently worse than hugs even if someone believed otherwise. So is the morality of something judged by the person themselves or is it objective?

    You appeal to what people typically believe when they seek to extend their lives. That they want to see their grandkids etc. But if someone doesn’t want those things whats wrong with them committing suicide. Would this not leave room for those things being ok so long as the person desired them? Once again you are appealing to someones desires or beliefs as the grounding of your morality yet you agree that people can be mistaken about what is objectively right or wrong despite their beliefs. So once again, is morality objective or is it based upon a persons personal beliefs?

    You make an interesting point that you breaking your sons leg knowing it will cause good in the long run would be loving, while the father who breaks his sons leg not knowing it will cause good would not be loving. Perhaps this would summarize the Christian view of evil well.
    God knows that the evil that we experience will cause more good than harm in the long run. We on the other hand are like the son who doesn’t see it, because unlike God we are finite in our knowledge.
    When you and I look at evil in the world it’s like we are looking at an inch space of a mile long tapestry. We look at and say that it doesn’t make sense and that we can’t see a justification for it. But our knowledge is so minuscule in comparison to God because while we only see the one inch he sees the whole thing and sees how it all fits perfectly. Does the fact that I cannot give you an explanation for every evil in the world mean there isn’t one? Absolutely not. It simply means I don’t see the whole picture either.

    You can dismiss this as assuming God from the get go if you want. But really what it is doing is using my worldview to show how my worldview makes sense. It is the same as using science to prove evolution. The two go together. If you want to continue to dismiss the arguments because you don’t see the explanation then I’ll just simply say you still don’t understand the Christian worldview.

    To say that I must know why God allows certain evils in order to avoid the EPOE is like saying that I must know all of the justifications for Einstein’s theory of general relativity in order to say it’s true. Just because I cannot explain it doesn’t mean it can’t be explained. This is the flaw in your EPOE.

    Many of your arguments also show you want me to prove God as you have defined him. It’s like me asking you to prove evolution in which men evolved from monkeys. But I am sure that’s not the evolution you believe in rather you believe in an evolution that man and monkeys evolved from a mutual ancestor. If you want me to prove God you must allow me to prove MY God, which means a God who knows things that you and I do not know and thus allows things you and I see as evil without justification that are justified by his view.

    Honestly, there are many points that show me that I think you are not really interested in learning what I or other Christians believe as you are trying to prove me wrong. I’ve seen a few comments that I know you understand that you make arguments against that really give away that your not actually interested in an actual discussion here.

    For instance you said “You say, “While the theist points to a loving God”. False, there is no God pointed to. This is ironic given that, for most theists, God is not a “thing” that can be “pointed” to, as God is supposedly “immaterial””

    You know in that case that myself and other Christians are talking figuratively saying this sort of thing just to say that it in one way proves God. Just as you may say some evidence points to evolution even though evolution isn’t a material thing but a scientific theory that you can’t point to.

    Or

    “You say, “Cancer isn’t here because God meant it to be here.”. That’s right! Because God doesn’t ”

    Or

    “”If we knew the things that God does we would realize that there are good things that come from the things that we see as evil.” God doesn’t exist, and thus we don’t know anything that God knows”

    Or

    “”You then say, “This is how God sees. We don’t see how good can come from cancer but he sees more than we do.”. This is false. God doesn’t exist.”

    1. If you haven’t assumed god exists in this debate, great.
      Yes, you are right: “I’ve simply explained how though evil exists it doesn’t rule out the possibility that God exists.”. So it looks like we are making different claims. You are claiming God might exist. I agree. I am claiming that evil shows that God probably doesn’t exist. I haven’t seen you acknowledge this yet. If you do, there seems to be no disagreement. If there still is disagreement, then you have been wasting time making points about a claim we both agree on: (God might exists).
      My saying “God does not exist” doesn’t assume that: I’ve been arguing for that, and giving evidence of that (RE: Evil/rape, etc.). Nor am I “ending the debate”. I’ve been continuing the discussion this entire time, offering more and more in explanation of my position and arguments.
      I never said I didn’t want to hear the whole worldview which explains how evil exists for theists.
      Nothing I’ve said indicates that I’ve “ruled out the existence of God before the debate has begun”. In fact, I’ve said many times that God might exist. You seem unable or unwilling to hear that when I say it.
      Yes I could make the time to watch the video, and you could take the time to summarize whatever points it makes that you think are important. I decided to spend the time reading and responding to your post.
      “If you can’t take the time for that sort of thing then I don’t really see much of a point in continuing discussion.” That’s just you quitting. I could equally say:
      “If you can’t take the time to summarize the points of the video, I don’t really see much of a point in continuing discussion”.
      So, you can wait to see if I watch the video, and I can wait to see if you summarize the points of the video. Until then, you haven’t proven your case, nor falsified mine.
      If by the “fall” you mean Adam and Eve eating from the tree, all of that probably never happened.
      You claim there is a way the world should be. Explain what you mean by Should, and prove that the world should be a particular way. (I don’t think you can do this).
      You say there God desired the world to be a particular way. There is no (probable) evidence for this, nor does it seem relevant to anything. And doesn’t this assume God, contrary to what you claimed above?
      You say God gave us free will. This seems false. Please prove it.
      I am not “taking the fall of man out of the discussion” as much as I’m saying that it hasn’t been shown to be true, and thus can’t yet be part of the discussion.
      The Problem of evil starts from things like rape. It doesn’t require the Fall to make the argument. It is possible that that “Fall” is relevant to responding to the POE, but you haven’t shown how, nor that the Fall actually occurred. Do those 2 things, and then I’ll have to respond.
      I’m not asking you to respond with or without the Fall. I’m saying, you haven’t made the case against the POE.
      I’m not asking you to defend the Christian worldview. I’m saying that worldview hasn’t been proven to be true, so it can’t yet be used in this discussion (as a truth).
      Yes, you should criticize my arguments/syllogisms, if they are faulty. I’ve yet to see you do that.
      Yes, if an argument is unclear (How did you go from A to B? Why does A make B true?), let me know, and I will try to clarify. At this point you, without examples, say there are some “unconnected arguments” I made. Which? Where?
      If you think some of my arguments are hard to follow, say which, and I will clarify.
      I don’t think I ever said Someone’s desire to live makes cancer bad, as much as I said “bad” is a word that often refers to situations like cancer where someone desires to live. I wouldn’t know what “bad” meant apart from that. Often in these cases, “bad” means (for me, and others) “has certain properties (like shortening one’s life) that are undesired.
      “IF X is undesired, then X is undesired” is a tautology, but
      “if X shortens your life, then X is undesired” is not.
      Cancer generally shortens one’s life.
      Shortening one’s life is usually undesired.
      Thus we often say “Cancer is bad”, and mean, “it shortens one’s life, and is undesired”.
      That all sounds true and accurate to say.
      You say I am basing “bad” upon a person’s desires. More accurately, I’m explaining how I use the word, what it often refers to to me, etc. If you mean something else by “bad”, just say what you mean, and what shows that thing to exist (with examples).
      If you try to say “Cancer is bad, but “badness” is not about desire, or pain, etc., then you will have to say what badness is for you. If you just say “bad is bad!” that will not help your case.
      Yes, someone who wants to die will say “cancer is good”. For such a person, it is still a fact that cancer usually shortens life, but if they desire it, they are more likely to say “cancer is good”. Your mistake (which many make), it seems, is thinking that “good” and “bad” refer to something other than desires, and properties like shortening one’s life. I’m saying that for me, the words (bad and good) refer to things like desires and properties like SOL (Shortening one’s life). If you think good and bad refer to something else (that we know of), and that something else proves God, prove it. I don’t think you can do this.
      So there is no contradiction in:
      X has cancer, it SOL, X desires that, and calls it “good”.
      Y has cancer, it SOL, Y doesn’t desire that, and calls it “bad”.
      You say, “Someone who wants to die then can see cancer as good.” If Good here means something like, desired, to be sought after, a reason to not stop cancer, then yes, this all makes sense (and has nothing to do with God).
      Yes, “a Nazi who gives cancer to all Jews would see cancer as good.” To me that means, a Nazi could “give” cancer”, which SOL, and the Nazi desires that, and calls it “good”. Again, “good” here is the word to describe the things before. Nothing about this is problematic nor contradictory.
      You then say, “But later you say that punching is inherently worse than hugs even if someone believed otherwise.” You didn’t listen closely to a point I made several times. I never said “inherently”, and you failed to recall that I said you can’t say something is better (or worse), full stop. So I would not say that Punching is worse than hugs, full stop (as you full stopped in your line above). What I did say is that punching people is (not inherently, but empirically) found to be worse (less likely) at making friends than is hugging people. That’s true. Nothing about that proves God.
      You say, “So is the morality of something judged by the person themselves or is it objective?” I don’t understand what this asks. You can rephrase it, but it would save time if you just state what the point is behind the question/how you would answer it.
      You say, “You appeal to what people typically believe when they seek to extend their lives.”. If you mean, I assert that the evidence we have shows that many/most people generally prefer to live longer, that’s true. Most seek out treatment, when sick, etc. Most are not trying to shorten their lives, etc.
      Yes, many people want to see their grandkids.
      You then say, and this is revealing, “But if someone doesn’t want those things whats wrong with them committing suicide”. I never claimed that there is something wrong with them committing suicide. You assume (it seems) that there is always something wrong with such a thing. If you do, prove it. I claim that if that’s what the person wants, then they have a reason to do that, and “right” often means just that: If you want to play soccer, and I want to play basketball, then (ceteris paribus) it is “right” (reasonable) for you to play soccer, and “right” (reasonable) for me to play basketball. The same applies to living a long life, or a short one.
      “Would this not leave room for those things being ok so long as the person desired them?” This is confusing. What are you trying to ask here?
      “Once again you are appealing to someones desires or beliefs as the grounding of your morality”. More accurately, I am saying that moral language, for me, typically refers to desires.
      You say, “yet you agree that people can be mistaken about what is objectively right or wrong despite their beliefs.”. People can be mistaken about their belief that punching will make them friends, yes. That one believes X doesn’t thereby make it probable. That doesn’t seem to falsify anything I’ve said above.
      “So once again, is morality objective or is it based upon a persons personal beliefs?” I don’t think you clearly understand this question, but I’ll try to sort it out. “morality” is “objective” if you mean “whether punching X in the face will make him yell” is determined best by science, not simply a person saying “I believe it”.
      Personal Belief 1: I think the moon is a square
      Actual scientific reality: The moon is round (ish)
      Lesson: reality about the (external) world is best determined by empirical science, not simply what you personally believe.
      Example 2:
      Personal Belief 2: I think cancer is “good”: it SOL, and I desire it, and “good” for me means (basically) those 2 things.
      Science says: Cancer does SOL, and confirms you desire it.
      Actual reality: both are correct: your personal belief is accurate, as science shows.
      You say that my example of breaking legs knowing that is for the greater good “would summarize the Christian view of evil well.”. If you mean, all evil is for the greater good, then you are wrong (as far as we know). I could just as wrongly claim all good is for a greater evil. But the reality is that, as far as we know, some things are for the greater good (letting your kid learn to ride a bike despite the suffering), and other things are not (letting your kid be murdered). So the POE still shows that God probably doesn’t exist.
      You say, “God knows that the evil that we experience will cause more good than harm in the long run.”. You said earlier you weren’t going to assume God exists! But regardless, we don’t know that your claim is true.
      “We on the other hand are like the son who doesn’t see it, because unlike God we are finite in our knowledge.” Again, claims not in evidence. That is, while you are right that our knowledge is finite, you are wrong that we know there to be a creature who has infinite knowledge (and that it says something different than ours).
      “When you and I look at evil in the world it’s like we are looking at an inch space of a mile long tapestry. We look at and say that it doesn’t make sense and that we can’t see a justification for it.” Yes, our knowledge is not infinite. But our limited (collective, human) knowledge is all we know of and can appeal to. But the world makes much sense. We have explanations and justifications for many things, but yes, we probably won’t ever have perfect knowledge, explanations and justifications for everything. That’s why evil Might be justified (and also, good Might be unjustified!)
      “But our knowledge is so minuscule in comparison to God”. False. there is no being that is all knowing, as far as we know. (Feel free to prove otherwise).
      The point here is that we see many things and they appeal to be evil and unjustified (not what a loving being would allow). But we do NOT know otherwise: we do not know them to actually be loving and justified and for the greater good. Thus a perfect being probably doesn’t exist.
      “Does the fact that I cannot give you an explanation for every evil in the world mean there isn’t one?”. If you mean, there might be one, yes. If you mean, “does my failure to explain all those rapes mean that it looks like there isn’t a justification for all of them?”, then yes.
      “It simply means I don’t see the whole picture either.” No, that’s only part of it. Yes we don’t see the whole picture, but you fail to see that the picture that we know of (rapes, and the lack of a justification for them) make it appear that they are unjustified, not what a perfect being would allow, and thus it appears (is probable, given so many evils) that a perfect being doesn’t exist.
      You are assuming God exists and has perfectly justified reasons for allowing all those rapes. But you haven’t proven that assumption/shown it to be probable.
      Given that rapes are usually harmful and undesired, a loving person would probably try to stop them, and a perfect God probably would have stopped them. They aren’t, so there probably is no God. So no, your worldview here does not make sense/prove otherwise.
      Please stop saying I’m “dismissing” your arguments. I’m addressing virtually everything you’ve said, and if you see that there as an argument that works for you, just offer it up again until I respond to it. (What argument do you think I’m dismissing?) It seems that I’ve only shown that you haven’t proven what you need here: that God exists, and has justified reason for allowing evil. There’s nothing dismissive about that: they are facts/truths.
      “To say that I must know why God allows certain evils in order to avoid the EPOE is like saying that I must know all of the justifications for Einstein’s theory of general relativity in order to say it’s true. Just because I cannot explain it doesn’t mean it can’t be explained. This is the flaw in your EPOE.”
      If you cannot explain it, then, for the purposes of this discussion, you haven’t explained it, and thus the evils we see are, as far as we can tell, unjustified (just like we can say, letting your child ride her bike is, as far as we can tell, justified).
      So there is no flaw in my EPOE. There are evils (rapes). Those are not, as far as we can tell, things a perfect being would allow.
      Theists do this a lot: of course you want to be able to evaluate some things: “it is unjustified for the terrorists to have killed all those people on 9/11” (which is true, according to what we know), but then you switch, “but we can’t say that it is, as far as we know, unjustified for those rapes to have been allowed to happen”. The reality is that we can judge both with probability, and in both cases (rape and 9/11) they both are “evil” as far as we know: not what all loving perfect beings would do.
      Yes, if you can prove God, great. But I’m really interested in showing you that the POE proves God probably doesn’t exist, and in seeing if you can show otherwise.
      You are free to define God however you like. I’m only talking about a perfect, all powerful, all loving being. Your God may not be that god.
      I haven’t said anything about evolution, nor is that relevant to anything I’ve asserted.
      You say, “allow me to prove MY God, which means a God who knows things that you and I do not know”. I do allow it! Go for it. Prove there is a being who knows that all those rapes are for the greater good. Until then, it looks like they are not for the greater good (any more than is 9/11).
      “there are many points that show me that I think you are not really interested in learning what I or other Christians believe as you are trying to prove me wrong.” This is just you quitting. I’ve spent much time here, said a lot, addressed most if not all of your points. I’m doing my best to learn from you, if you have any helpful corrections to what I’ve said.
      If you want to avoid being misunderstood, be clearer when you are talking “figuratively” rather than literally. And, feel free to skip any points I make that don’t affect the main topic (like my true but unnecessary comments about “pointing” to God).
      You say, “myself and other Christians are talking figuratively saying this sort of thing (“pointing to God”) just to say that it in one way proves God.” Nothing here has proven God.
      Yes, I’m pointing out when you make false claims, or claims that at least need to be shown to be true to be relevant, like when you claim “God knows all” or “God gave us free will”.
      So there you go: the EPOE still shows that God probably doesn’t exist. You haven’t shown otherwise: you haven’t shown that a perfect being probably exists and probably has good (loving) reasons for allowing all those rapes and such.

      1. So the problem I see is that you haven’t acknowledged the basic truths we’ve established: that you are right: we can’t rule out the possibility that God exists. And I am right: God probably doesn’t exist. You argued at length for your truth (you can’t rule out the possibility! God might exist), but you didn’t argue against my truth (that evil makes it improbable that a perfect being exists), and you haven’t yet acknowledged that it is true, nor have you acknowledged that your truth doesn’t affect my truth. That is, because God might exist doesn’t show that it probably does (or that it is false that it probable doesn’t).
        So you said a lot about your truth: God might exist.
        You then went (mostly) silent about my truth: Evil makes it probable that God/a perfect being probably doesn’t exist.
        In my last post, I answered all your objections (it seems).

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