Nothing shows this to be true. What seems to be happening is that (typically) kind people want the mean people to be kind, so they try to trick the mean people by saying odd things like “you just have to be kind! . The problem of good is that it unravels the argument raised by the problem of evil. What one person has a reason to do often doesn’t apply to a different person with different values/desires. The burden is on the theist to show, even when person A says “I want to be mean (more than anything else)” and person B says “I want to kind (more than anything else)” that one of these people “ought” to do something other than what they want more than anything else. The problem of good is not defined (as far as I can see), but if the POE [problem of evil] is the argument where evil disproves a perfectly loving being, the POG seems to … Th For those who prefer hot dogs, prima facie, what is wise for them to do (again what they “ought to do”) is eat hot dogs. The Problem of Good. Beauty. Friday night we will have a special Thanksgiving Praise & Communion Service. But if the author means, atheists typically don’t have any strong evidence for such justice, that’s true, but so too true for the theist. Small kids are typically selfish and want all the toys. I would have to be shown point-by-point that I supposedly did not succeed in my aim. Even though there is no god, atheists can hope for mean people to be punishing “in the end”, and for kind people to be rewarded “in the end”. If there were no God, they wouldn’t be there and evil would be far, far greater than it is now (and it is a huge and troubling problem now). Job went through this. Friends. Personally, I think the problem of good is (or should be) just as important, especially to Christians. His words will be in blue. “. The very possibility of living a life that in the end you can call good. I’m simply stating my position on that,m since you keep bringing it up, for some odd reason. If you can be there it will be a good thing. . DA claims that the atheism will result in something that is “incoherent and morally objectionable”. The problem of good and evil in the world has been a challenging subject for hundreds, even thousands of years. God please break this evil. The Problem Of Good I just finished Andrew Klavan's excellent conversion memoir, The Great Good Thing: A Secular Jew Comes To Faith In Christ . And from where we stand, this is a huge problem. Nothing shows that if atheists don’t or can’t define “evil” consistently then God exists. To my knowledge, the way I used the argument (back in 2001) was not to assert that it proves God exists. God did not spend what we call 13.75 billion years creating the universe and pronouncing it very good, only to give up on it in the end and decide it would be better for the Imago Dei beings to be transferred to a non spacio-temporal existence. Nothing shows that if God doesn’t exist, atheists can’t take the word “evil” and define it consistently. It’s one of the issues in the “long run” but not primarily in my mind (if at all) when making the problem of good argument. We can’t turn around, look out a window or walk down the street without running into goodness. DA then says, the reason that all people are bound (“ought”, are required regardless of desires…) to be kind is “because God provides the over-arching “absolute” and principle of right and wrong which allows for coherent ethics and non-arbitrary determination of good and evil.” As I’ve shown, people aren’t all bound. : In the mere six weeks during which the Japanese perpetrated the Nanking Massacre starting on Dec. 13, 1937, an estimated 20,000-80,000 Chinese women were brutally raped and sexually assaulted by the invading soldiers. Typically, by “evil” I am referring to actions that aren’t for the greater good, and by that I mean actions like rape (but there are others). The individual person Can the natural universe serve as the source for objective moral values? Paul tells us that creation itself groans with longing for the day when the healing will be complete and the sons of God will appear in glory. Regardless, the author is right that for many/most atheists, they believe that there are no (known) gods, no (known) Heaven, no eternal (a billion years from now) happiness that some humans here today will experience. You’ve probably never thought about good things as, in some ways, a problem to be pondered. Possibility. Love. It typically does harm and is typically unwanted (or as I defined it above: it’s not for the great good: it’s not maximally loving). DA thinks there are worrisome moral implications for atheism. The Problem of Good — The Options for a Moral Source If a person omits a transcendent source of objective moral values, then there are three options left for a starting place of the objective moral law: 1. The Problem of Good book. I was pointing out the difficulties for atheism, of the problem of good (see the brief definition above). C. S. Lewis in fact did this at the end of his book, The Abolition of Man. Yes, I fully agree (with the second sentence)! DA is honest when he says, “Christians believe that God put this inherent sense in all human beings, so that they instinctively have a moral compass, and therefore largely agree on right and wrong in the main”. If Christianity is true, why do many people seem to live moral, fulfilling lives outside the gospel? It went very well, and is my very favorite dialogue of all the multiple hundreds I’ve been in. Atheists and agnostics regularly resort to the “problem of evil” when raising arguments against the existence of a benevolent and omnipotent God. If there is no ultimate morality and justice, of course this is true. When you think of it, the Problem of Evil is the dual of the Problem of Good. Are there problems (“shortcomings”) with atheism? *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The atheist who challenges Christianity by asking how God can exist in a world with evil faces a bigger problem than the theist. If there is no God, in other words, why is there so much cooperation, self-sacrifice, generosity, altruism, and love in the world? People who want a kind world should be kind. That is, nothing about existing morality disproves atheism or proves theism. Some of our knowledge is already like that! Church and ministry leadership resources to better equip, train and provide ideas for today's church and ministry leaders, like you. A story in the Washington Post said “20 years ago globalization was pitched as a strategy that would raise all boats in poor and rich countries alike. If it means “actual values”, then it’s false. But DA was wrong to say that it is. depends on what you want. This is a belief, but it isn’t knowledge: it’s not shown to be probable. Goodness is virtue and holiness in action. The song of birds and the smell of coffee. This particular dialogue was a critique of atheism, in response to the atheist problem of evil critique of Christianity. Let me explain. If the author means atheists never hope that there is such justice, that’s false. If so, yes, both arguments work: our universe shows there to not be either of those beings, as far as we know. But nothing about that disproves atheism. Explore the world's faith through different perspectives on religion and spirituality! I seems that you have no fully comprehended the latter. Thanks for conforming a major component of my argument. Today's post has been a draft for quite a few months, but I am going to release it now. Then, once they’d finished with their victims, they often murdered them. And we probably would throw unkind atheists (like rapists) in jail. What if one could promise eternal life to others and guarantee the promise by rising from the dead himself? One thing at a time. Those are again just the facts about the world we live in. Faith. That’s what the dialogue was about. But atheists do have a grounds for trying to stop it, condemning it, etc. The kind atheist can try to persuade (I’ll give you donuts if you are kind! torturing babies) without eventually appealing to God? Several philosophers have argued that just as there exists a problem of evil for theists who believe in an omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent being, so too is there a problem of good for anyone who believes in an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnimalevolent (or perfectly evil) being. The theist must rise to the challenge, to be sure. DA is right about one thing: “morality” is relative in one sense: people exist, and they often desire/prefer/like/want different things. But DA was wrong to say that it is “completely arbitrary”, unless he meant, “at rock bottom” and was just repeating the point I just made. Justice. I agree; it’s perfectly logical, according to your [false] premises. The atheist who challenges Christianity by asking how God can exist in a world with evil faces a bigger problem than the theist. The point of all this: nothing shows that God exists, and put something in us, in ALL of us, and it was a sense of kindness. I live in a good creation. Family. A good world filled with good things to enjoy. But those atheists are wrong. the Problem of Good and Evil Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D. One of the greatest problems of the Harry Potter craze, as I see it, is the tremendous confusion between good and evil it is bound to generate among the youth, especially in the already-relativized ambience of our days. Thus, for those who prefer pizza, what is wise for them to do (what they “ought to do”, “why and how [should] the other person…be “bound” to the moral observations”, Nanjing Tribunal investigates remains of Nanjing Massacre victims (1946), Yes, I want the Patheos Catholic Newsletter as well, Identity Politics vs. Transactional Politics. . The problem of evil is one we’re all familiar with . But of course, what is “reprehensible” and “mean”? Newborns don’t even know what rape is. Rather, the evidence shows that we do have inherent biological tendencies (but virtually no awareness knowledge from the get go of conception), most of which are selfish! . If I argued more strongly than that in my 2001 dialogue, I must have worded it wrongly, because I know I had pretty much the same views on theistic proofs then as I do now. Culture or society 3. Indeed, as Pascal said, “The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.”. That remains to be shown. Patheos has the views of the prevalent religions and spiritualities of the world. But what if one could defeat death? In the end, the deciding factor in God’s judgment will still be Christian or non-Christian, and it is only by this grace that that decision has not been made yet. You have so far concentrated on the problem of good, and I don’t see how you have overthrown it at all. It is well summarized in Dostoevsky’s statement, “If there’s no God and no life beyond the grave, doesn’t that mean that men will be allowed to do whatever they want?” [see more on this quotation from The Brothers Karamazov (1880)]. What does this mean? It doesn’t prove God or disprove atheism. Joy. Number 5 is basically true: For the typical atheist who listens to science and reason, all the known evidence shows (so far) shows that in a trillion years (“ultimately”) there be no life, and this nothing that “matters” (is “meaningful”) to anyone. “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold it was very good.”. I argued that it was an internal difficulty of atheism: specifically for atheist morality and ethics. So this curious claim will have to be unpacked and elaborated upon. DA thinks that something here “rules out these non-theistic ethics in one fell swoop” [that was my opponent’s words], but I see no evidence of this. Law presupposes moral absolutes. Dostoevsky was right when he said, “Without God all things are permissible.”. DA then wrongly says “their behavior proves it.” That is, when atheists say “I like kindness” and say “you ought to be kind!” DA thinks this proves that God exists. And because evil’s greatest accomplishment — death — has been defeated in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I will choose to focus on what is good. So, basically, an atheist morality is ultimately arbitrary (as is any known morality). A smiling face and a warm embrace. singing stars, and death-fearing hydrogen atoms) and illuminating scientific analogues (e.g. There is no other book like it.” —Philip Graham Ryken, President, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois To hear it told you would think that evil is so ubiquitous that goodness cannot be found. I thoroughly disagree, as argued. . But 4 is false if it means this: “atheists can’t believe in a future state of everlasting bliss/happiness”. They may differ on the parameters of murder (the definition): such as the present immoral and anti-scientific nonsense about abortion not being a species of it, based on human embryos supposedly not being wither human or persons. Today, Professor Howard Kainz puts things into a Catholic perspective that both enlightens and provokes … Thanks! “ What does this mean? But they don’t disagree that there is such a thing as murder: that ought not be done, and for which there are strict penalties. But DA wants to know how atheists can show “why and how the other person should be “bound” to the moral observations”. I think the following statement of mine, near the beginning, serves as a definition of the [atheist] problem of good: Simply put (but I will defend this at the greatest length once we discuss particular moral questions), atheist justifications for morality (i.e., logically carried through) will always be either completely arbitrary, relativistic to the point of absurdity, or derived from axiomatic assumptions requiring no less faith than Christian ethics require. Abstract. Of course they do, but that has no bearing upon my argument. That rape is unkind?). But nothing about this proves God/disproves atheism. DA is right that an atheist truth seeker would examine apparent shortcomings to atheism. The 3rd one is also false, depending on what “objective” means here. Oh the dark can pour in too, And, as I just argued, jails and judges and laws all presuppose an absolute system of morals and right and wrong. A good creation marred by evil, but which will be healed. I show how atheist use is inconsistent throughout my dialogue. I think it is thoroughly implausible and not worthy of belief, over against the far superior theistic alternative. I say that you have a far more difficult problem to grapple with.”. The Problem of Good Author Greg Koukl Published on 05/23/2012. Mackie on the Problem of Theodicy One of the most compelling issues addressed by philosophers over time is the so-called problem of evil. The truth of that depends on how he is defining those terms. Otherwise, there could be no laws at all, and “everything would be permitted” (legal and moral anarchy). He does all of that here, in The Problem of Good. Morality is fundamentally about values, which often differ. But those are just the facts of our world. Of course, one can still hope for eternal life. I was simply saying, “this is the coherent Christian alternative.”. If there is no God and there are rapes, then we live in a world that is “morally objectionable” if one means by that “frustrating to kind people”. It’s central to the problem of good. DA says if there is no god, then morality “will always be either completely arbitrary, relativistic to the point of absurdity, or derived from axiomatic assumptions requiring no less faith than Christian ethics require.” Yes, nothing shows this to be true. DA says, “why and how [should] the other person…be “bound” to the moral observations”. Evil people will be judged and sent to hell, and those who are saved by God’s grace will be allowed to enter heaven. And perhaps this argument has entered your head without the help of an antagonistic atheist, especially when you have faced a time of tragedy or pain in your own life. And again, nothing here (or elsewhere) requires anything about God or its supposed ethics). Yep. The Problem of Good: When the World Seems Fine Without God The first is false: many atheists can easily define “evil” consistently. If it means something “godly” then yes, atheists don’t have godly/objective morality (and neither does anyone else). One argument, known as the free will defense, claims that evil is caused not by God but by human beings, who must be allowed to choose evil if they are to have free will. It does not. It’s obvious what it means. Exactly! Atheists have no godly basis for condemning evil. . Please note that this post contains images of hate symbols. If creation is abandoned because of the damage wrought by evil, then in a very real sense evil has triumphed. DA is right: without God, values will often differ from person to person. Regardless, nothing here is relevant to the issue of whether God exists. Its true for all materialistic atheists. If we can ever get beyond these non sequiturs, maybe we’ll get somewhere. They always intrude, They will not allow me to diminish them. It comes down to raw power and “might makes right” and reducing human beings to the “red in tooth and claw” state of primal nature and the animal kingdom, where the strong rule, in an amoral state of affairs. All people, regardless, do not have to be kind. 1) Can’t really consistently define “evil” in the first place; 2) Has no hope of eventual eschatological justice; 3) Has no objective basis of condemning evil; 4) Has no belief in a heaven of everlasting bliss; 5) Has to believe in an ultimately absolutely hopeless and meaningless universe.”, DA thinks that something here “rules out these non-theistic ethics in one fell swoop”. 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