Sunday, September 9, 2007

Evil and Atheism

In a previous post, I shared the "free-will defense" of Alvin Plantinga, which has caused even atheist philosophers to abandon the logical argument from evil. There are, however, some other Christian responses to share, some recent, some more historical. But before I mention some of these, I think there is another point that needs to be made.

And that is that it seems logically inconsistent for an atheist to make the charge that evil presents a problem for Christianity. If there is no God, then there is no absolute morality, no standard of good against which to compare something. On the atheist view, both good and evil are meaningless concepts, incoherent. Things, events, happenings just are--to assess them as evil requires a standard of some sort, and no such standard can be logically grounded in a universe that is the random result of chance, one with no divine Lawgiver.

Atheists do--like most all people--recognize some things as bad or even evil. This recognition comes from the fact that all humans (even atheists) are created in the image of God. But in order to rail against those aspects of the universe that they find bad (or evil or unjust), atheists are required to borrow moral language that is logically grounded only in theism.

Thus, the existence of evil in the world--and the fact that its existence is universally recognized--provides evidence not against but for the existence of God.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great points! The problem I've had in the past is when I'm in the middle of these types of discussions, I end up kicking myself after the fact for not bringing up these great points. It's the ol' I should have said this... why didn't I say that... If I only would have countered with this... and so on. Much like how I studied for exams, cram the night before and it flees soon after the test is over! At least I know what I need to work on.