Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Focus on the Good


Most Xians, when confronted with the evil of god, have some sort of defense mechanism that kicks in and allows them to overlook all of god's evil deeds. One of those mechanisms is to counter that atheists only focus on the evil deeds of god and unfairly forget about the good that is in the world. Does this argument have any merit?

Not really. It's actually quite simple. If god is omni-benevolent, as Xians contend, then the existence of evil is a huge problem for them. Hey, maybe god does do some good things sometimes, even maybe lots of times, but that's not what the issue is. To focus solely on the good and claim that it shows that god is good is to count the hits and ignore the misses or paint the bulls-eye around the target. If I argue against god being omni-benevolent, I don't have to show that god never performs any good act, I simply have to show that god performs evil acts. Only the most twisted mind could argue that god does not commit evil (genocide, world-wide floods, etc) so it's rather silly for apologists to cling to this idea of omni-benevolence and even sillier to complain about the atheist focusing on evil too much.

8 comments:

Robert Madewell said...

I showed this comic to a friend of mine and she sighed and told me that I was taking the bible too literally. She teaches creationism to kids at her church. I love the taste of Tu Quoque fortified with Irony!

GCT said...

I love how all believers seem to have this secret decoder ring that allows them to read the Bible and magically know which parts god was serious about and when he was just joking around.

Robert Madewell said...

There's a whole industry of books, correspondence courses, devotionals, CDs, tapes, etc. to make sure that you only read the good parts. Comprehensive chapter by chapter studies of the bible are rare. The ones that do exist still just pick the good chapters to study in depth.

This post also reminds me of my five-year-old neice and I playing. I was picking some repeatitive rhythm on the guitar and she was (for a lack of a better term) preaching. She was making up her own words and singing. Then she said something that I'll never forget, "I don't know what's in the bible, but it has to be true!"

I am forbidden to contractict the young kids indoctrination, so I said nothing. She's probably a little too young to comprehend. She's just repeating what she's been told and I seriously doubt that the people who told that the bible must be true knows what's all in there either.

(My wife video taped that incident. Sadly, I have promised my wife not to use it on my blog or YouTube.)

Pine said...

GCT:

I've been pondering a few things and here goes a quick question... may have asked this before but...

If you don't believe in God, how can you argue that anything He does is immoral? IE: How are morals defined if there is no transcendant measure by which to supply the standard?

Or, is your comment only meant to show that the Christian worldview is contradictory and self-defeating?

One last question... if someone were able to come up with a reason which would convince you that evil was (for whatever reason) necessary, would that convince you that God could be Omnimax?

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

I'd suggest not reading The Shack. It might make your head explode with the way it attempts to deal with this issue, which, of course, fails miserably.

GCT said...

Welcome Mike,
and once again sorry that cl dragged you into his personal jones for me.

Pine,
"If you don't believe in God, how can you argue that anything He does is immoral? IE: How are morals defined if there is no transcendant measure by which to supply the standard?"

There are many ways we can do this. We can use our culturally evolved moral system, we can use an objective morality system that is agreed upon, or we can use the system that Xians say they follow. In all three cases, god would fail. Note, that it's quite logical to argue that if god exists, then the consequences are that he would pass or fail some moral test.

Further, I see no reason to subscribe to absolute morality in order to formulate objective morals or even an evolved moral system that can be used to convict god (so to speak). IOW, I see no logical necessity for a transcendent nature or transcendent morality. If you look at Euthyphro's Dilemma, it becomes difficult to even defend such a system.

"Or, is your comment only meant to show that the Christian worldview is contradictory and self-defeating?"

I do believe that it is self defeating and contradictory, yes. My comment was more about the tendency that many (all?) Xians have to subscribe to literal interpretations for things they agree with and claim that all other stuff is metaphorical, allegorical, or something else (i.e. not to be taken literally).

"One last question... if someone were able to come up with a reason which would convince you that evil was (for whatever reason) necessary, would that convince you that God could be Omnimax?"

It would help, but there are other problems with omni-max-ness. I would certainly have to re-evaluate some of my arguments.

Modusoperandi said...

Pine "If you don't believe in God, how can you argue that anything He does is immoral? IE: How are morals defined if there is no transcendant measure by which to supply the standard?"
Flip that around: how is it a moral standard if everything God does is good? If God does things that "appear" to be evil, like giving kids cancer, but God is all-good, then shouldn't we praise His divine goodness for, well, everything? After all, (sorry to Godwin, but…) Hitler's parents made Hitler's body, but the Lord made his soul.

"One last question... if someone were able to come up with a reason which would convince you that evil was (for whatever reason) necessary, would that convince you that God could be Omnimax?"
Prove that any god/s/ exist first. Then prove that any interventionalist god/s/ exist. Then prove that 3-O'd thing (good luck. The Problem of Evil is only a problem because the various Solutions of Evil sound hollow). Walk before you run, Grasshopper.

Steven Bently said...

If god's favorite people happens to be the Jews, and he did nothing to intervene in saving even one of the six million murdered of his favorite people.

Then what chance is there for god's unchosen people...hmmm?