The Problem God

Here is the question asked of Professor Hodges:

If there is a god who is infinitely benevolent and infinitely powerful, why would he/she/it create a world with evil people?

Maybe God created natural people with an attachment to this fascinating natural world of conflicting sensations, who yet have the capacity to freely choose how to respond to it. Maybe the people you don’t like have chosen unwisely, or maybe their parents have guided them unwisely; and they have become obsessed with certain natural sensations so much that they don’t really care about other people, whom they judge to be evil and worthless.

At this point the ultimate arbiter of Good and Evil, the Judge of the Universe who knows the hearts of all people, their intents, their sins, their sufferings, and their destinies, steps in to pass judgment and say: “Thou Creator, thou hast erred in granting me both a natural world and a free mind. Thou art not Good enough for me, so I banish thee to the realm of myth. Leave me alone to sulk about the Evil world thou hast created.”

Even as an atheist, the Problem of Evil never troubled me. Evil troubles me, but the “Problem” doesn’t. The world is full of conflicting forces, and our happiness doesn’t depend on either picking the winner or having everything go our way. It entails accepting the world as a realm of conflict and accepting responsibility for our own actions in that realm.

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3 thoughts on “The Problem God

  1. Dave, you were an atheist? Could it be there’s hope for Sean Carrol at Cosmic Variance?

    I leave unanswered the question of “how can a good God have allowed evil.”

    Creators get to make the rules. All I’m really concerned with is reality. What is is.

  2. Bertrand Russell, one of my atheist heroes when I was a teenager, wrote to William James: “The pragmatic difference that pragmatism makes to me is that it encourages religious belief, & that I consider religious belief pernicious.”

    Russell was, in this case, correct. I was too pragmatic to remain an atheist.

  3. Pingback: Good Singer? « Brainbiter

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