Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

Patrick H


Evil. It is bad by itself and bad for us.

Consider how evil impacts us.

Consider evil as evil in itself.

Consider how evil impacts the innocent person who suffers.

The priority is helping the personís suffering not God. You should prioritise helping the person instead of caring if evil is evil in itself.

A baby suffers terribly and nobody can imagine what it is like for that baby.

The believer says God is with the baby and lovingly taking care of that baby.

That is a theory or assumption.

What if you can do nothing to help? You are saying God is there to help when you or anybody else cannot and that he does help. You are saying that as long as people do their best, they need not worry for God will do what they simply cannot do. Is God giving that child medicine or something? No. So how dare you say the child is being helped!

And being unable to help does not mean you must stop totally being against the suffering of the child. Belief in God requires you to just leave the child to God. That is extremism in principle. There is a lot to worry about if a person refuses to deplore the suffering of a child just because nothing more can be done. That is turning the empathy off. An atheist has no right to do that and the believer has no right either. Belief in God demands it. Atheism does not demand it.

The suffering and aloneness of the child is a bare fact.

It is not a matter for theory.

Thus turning it into a theory about God's caring action is terrible.

That is using the child to derive your faith and the faith of others and to sustain it.

The child is used as a means to an end. The suffering of the child is used as a means to an end too.

Evidence is better than theory but even it is always not enough. You need proof when it is a child's suffering we are talking about.


Because the suffering has to be taken seriously and you must not risk suggesting the child is being help if he is not being helped. You cannot dismiss how it looks. Empathy needs to be allowed to flow unhindered.

Because the reason is that humanity is biased.

Because the reason is that humanity mistakes their own ideas for God's and even God, as far as humanity is concerned, is made up of human ideas.

Because the reason is that if humanity is right about God it does not follow that humanity cares about being right.

Because the reason is that if humanity is right about God it could be down to luck.

Because the reason is that faith is not going to help the baby but it may help those who are left behind and it may help you.

Because the reason is that it is not about your faith or anybody else's - there is a baby!

How does the so-called problem of good come into all this?

Is to try to see the good in the suffering, to make out that it is more good than bad for the child? Yes - if evil is misplaced good then it is more good than bad.

Is it more important for good to be good or to be recognisable as good?

To be good. That means you must not let yourself be horrified by what you see.

Conclusion: Atheism is majestic in principle and should be based on the utmost compassion. It is better to promote atheism even if people will not live up to it. If they don't that is not atheism's fault but theirs. Faith in God is disgusting in what it says about suffering that is untreatable.

The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, Edited by Michael Martin, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2007