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Another False Claim

In Christianity & Atheism on July 7, 2010 by thesignalinthenoise Tagged: ,

Eric MacDonald, here

“The problem of evil and pain is, it seems to me, decisive. There is, doubtless, much that is beautiful about life, but I have not met one person who has sufferred greatly who has thought of life as unproblematically beautiful. And some evils are so horrendous that belief in a benevolent god becomes a moral impossibility.”

I know of no Christian who argues that life is unproblematically beautiful, so that’s a straw man.  With respect to the arrogant universal claim of “moral impossibility,” one need only offer up Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

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One Response to “Another False Claim”

  1. It’s a rephrasing of Epicurus classic argument about the problem of evil:

    1. If an all-powerful and perfectly good god exists, then evil does not.
    2. There is evil in the world.
    3. Therefore, an all-powerful and perfectly good god does not exist.

    The point of the argument is not that believers do not recognize suffering. The point is that there is a conflict of conception between a benevolent deity and suffering.

    It is indeed one of the thorniest and most aggravating areas to argue in, because we indeed will get apologies of the sort as saying that the deity is by definition benevolent and the suffering must have some positive reason that we do not understand.

    But that of course is a truth-by-definition argument. The deity is good by definition and all consequences have to be understood assuming that definition to be true.

    It’s not hard to appreciate that this allows horrifying cruelty to be justified away and suffering to be minimized or ignored.

    Now recognizing this paradox does not mean that all believers use this defense, but I think it’s good to recognize that these are the kinds of arguments we actually face.

    In fact it will not take a lot of googling to find that the passages in the bible that described the slaughtering of children was A-OK because they just went straight to heaven. Hence indeed the problem of evil has been turned into the problem of the after-life excusing and negating all evil and suffering.

    And I think in this context is where we have to understand the quote that you cited.

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