The argument against God on the basis of the existence of evil

An Agnostic Argument based on Epicurus – Faith & Life.

The problem is that the premises can always be changed around. To wit:

  1. If a perfectly good god exists, then there is no evil in the world unless he has some morally sufficient reason for permitting that evil.
  2. There is evil in the world.
  3. A perfectly good god does exist.
  4. Therefore, there is a morally sufficient reason for that god permitting the evil in the world.

The atheologian has to prove that there can be no such morally sufficient reason. But how can he prove this? It would be a universal negative and claim to know all the possibilities that a god would have to account for.

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2 thoughts on “The argument against God on the basis of the existence of evil

  1. Alicia

    Yes, and also, whence assumption that moral perfection entails absolute prevention of any and all evil? If I don’t even accept that premise, why do I even need a “morally sufficient reason” for His allowing evil? It seems to me the Bible points instead to the moral imperative for resolution of evil, a Day of Judgment. That seems to be Psalm 73’s conclusion to the Problem of Evil, anyway. I don’t think I’m in a position to ask God “Why?” so much as to ask, “How long?”

    Put it another way: I don’t know what a morally perfect being would do or not do in reference to the allowance or prevention of evil. As an author bears no culpability for writing a story with evil characters and evil events, so it is a logical non-sequitur to reason from the morality of the creature to the morality of the Creator. Tolkien is not evil, even though his character Saruman is a traitor and murderer. It seems the Creator-creature gap is too great for ordinary logic to bridge in this case.

  2. Joshua W.D. Smith

    The atheological argument from evil is incoherent anyway, since it can give no clear standard of what constitutes evil, and it assumes that our knowledge of what it evil is perfect, and thus divine. So, the atheologist actually assumes he is God, or his audience is–they must have perfect moral vision themselves in order to make this judgment, or else they aren’t actually using a meaningful term when they say “evil.”


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