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?

 


CHAPTER SIX ON THE PROBLEM OF EVIL - DOES THE NOTION OF GOD BRINGING GOOD FROM EVIL HELP?


The problem of evil is how an all-good God who has the power to help the innocent won't do so. The innocent suffer.


The sixth chapter of the Handbook of Christian Apologetics proposes a solution to the problem of evil.

It spells out three different arguments against God from the existence of evil.

The first says that any evil refutes a good God which assumes that evil is a thing and God must have evilly made it.


The second says that needless evil proves there is no God - needless is not referring to all evils but ones that are clearly wanton.


The third says that bad things happening to good people refutes God. Atheism, we are told, affirms all three.


The reply the book gives to the third problem, the problem of terrible things happening to babies and good people, is that it is solved by the mysteries of original sin (the idea that Adam our first father sinned on our behalf in the garden of Eden and so his sin was passed on to us all at conception meaning we were sinners from the first moment we existed Ė so Adam sinned for us in our place) and the atonement of Jesus meaning that they show that the innocent can vicariously suffer to help the guilty. This is claptrap for X to suffer for Y is simply not fair. It is unfair to offer mysteries that make no sense to solve concrete problems. Those who believe in a good God believe that he does not want to be offered sufferings or sacrifices but just wants all to be happy.



Original sin presupposes that Adam had free will and damaged our free will so that we like to use it to sin. It says we become Adams ourselves.


So free will is central to this thinking scheme.


The book gives this equation for free will: Heredity + Environment + Free Will = Action (page 137). I am glad it does that because this admits that the three forces together produce the act. So heredity and environment influence the actions we produce. Then why didnít God make an effort to have stronger influences towards good? Heredity determines or forces certain influences on us so why are there people who through hereditary factors have bad inclinations? This observation is fatal to belief in God. Free will is presented in this book as a solution to the problem of evil but it isnít even relevant. It is the evil impulse in us that influences free will that is the problem. The authors deliberately try to deflect us from this and they wave free will in front of us for the purpose of misdirection. Even if we are conditioned by heredity and the environment we grew up in and which shaped us to choose coke instead of orange juice. Even if this conditioning does not determine or fix my choice but I can resist it. Even then the problem of bad influences inside us and being allowed to thrive is there.

If we partly cannot help our sins, then it follows that sin as in utter and final rejection of God is impossible. This means Jesus' doctrine that sinners seal their fate to live without God forever at death is out. That is the Hell doctrine. Anyway Catholics call such sin, mortal sin, and say it exists and people commit it. Psychology says they cannot for even if we have free will we are not that free. We cannot know that if we reject God that it is fully us that is responsible. There would be other factors such as the programming coming from our genes. People who commit what the Church calls mortal sin should be more pitied than held guilty of such sin. Any other conclusion is at best subconscious hate and an apologia for moral terrorism.

Page 138 as good as tells us that drunk people and insane people are not human beings but animals or machines for they have no free will! Nobody should get away with saying things like that in these politically correct times. That is saying that you should not be respected unless you are normal but it is obvious that insane people for example should be treated with dignity.

Page 142 says that the abuse of free will is to blame for spiritual evil like sin. It says that God allows it to preserve free will. It adds that spiritual evil is to blame for physical evil and the end purpose of physical evil is to train us and discipline us.


Page 143 suggests the possibility that if Adam had hurt himself before the fall he would have hurt physically but not mentally for pain is ninety per cent in the mind anyway which gives them the notion that the saintly soul does not feel as much pain when hurt as does the selfish and greedy and lustful soul. Presumably this means that Adam would know damage had been done but would not be told by pain for pain only came in after he disobeyed God. It might have been something like a message appearing in his head like a message in a computer telling it that a virus has got in. This is the callousness of much theism again. Those who cry out in agony are to blame for their agony. That is what they are saying.

When we could train ourselves by doing difficult good works it follows that any trials that come from God are just what we deserve because they wouldnít be as necessary had we disciplined ourselves.


Page 139 divorces goodness from kindness. Kindness is defined as lovingly wanting to free somebody from pain. It says that goodness is sometimes not to be kind. The idea is that if you have to hurt somebody to help them that is goodness but not kindness. If you are not scolding a person who could die and not give up their sins that will put them in a state of eternal separation from God forever then you are not good.

This is shocking logic. Surgeons for example hurt people to free them from pain so it is kindness. All helping of others is kindness. Kindness and goodness are one and the same. Then it says that God is good but not always kind which is why he allows evil to happen. Then it says that if God were kind to us he would deliver us from all pain but that would be worthy of condemnation because it would be the same as kindly parents doing their childrenís homework for them. But parents doing that is bad because the children wonít learn to get through life because there is no easy way through life for most. So its not kind. If you had an all-powerful father or mother with magic powers they could spoil you completely for then you will have a smooth journey through life. There would be nothing wrong with that for we only condemn spoiling because life is tough and spoiled children only make it worse for themselves and others. If life were easy and better there would be no difficulty. To say that God lets us stand on our own for our own good is to deny his power.

Page 127 admits that love the sinner but hate the sin is hypocrisy but says that that is why Jesus had to die for our sins so that we would get the mercy from God and him the justice so that it would be possible for us to love the sinner and hate the sin. So we are to love the sinner and the sin is hated and separated from the sinner and Jesus takes the blame for it and the punishment. Nothing could be more absurd than any of this and even many Catholic theologians would laugh their heads off at the suggestion. If the sin is separated from the sinner then the sinner is not a sinner anymore.

What about sinners who havenít repented and asked for Godís forgiveness? Their sin hasnít transferred to Christ yet. Are we to hate them? We must.

The failure of love the sinner and hate the sin means that evil refutes the existence of God. A loving God while evil is going on can only be accounted for if you judge the sinner as morally good and the sinner as morally bad and detestable which is so insane that it is impossible.

Page 142 says that evils that are not caused by free will, physical evils, such as viruses and sickness bugs and diseases and so on, are allowed by God to exist for they provide training for us and is also a just punishment for sin and a deterrence from sin.

So a baby then that suffers and dies of meningitis is a tool used by God to train those who love her and care for her for the disease cannot do the baby any good. The answer might be that the training is worth the suffering of the baby and its death. Is it really better for a baby to suffer and die so that some people may be more virtuous? Any parent in that situation would be inhuman for accepting this. Nobody has the right to say that a child should suffer and die on religious grounds. That is putting faith before people whereas religion assuming it should exist should be formulated with a firm eye on human welfare. The doctrine of page 142 is so vile that people believing it is a sufficient argument against the existence of God.

It is curious that the book doesnít mention the Christian idea that even our sins and their bad results are used by God to create a better good (he creates the act of sinning as well for he creates all things so sinners use the free will to sin because of God not in spite of him). Maybe the book sees that if he is doing this then when God is working so hard and the best will still happen leaving it impossible to see anything wrong with sinning. You could beat up a baby intending God to bring good out of it. Religion says the atheist argument that innocent suffering refutes God errs in assuming that evil cannot be used to bring about a greater good. Religion gives us a God who may have to tolerate the evil he hates. Many religionists when talking about this mean evil as in the evil that we freely do. They think God has to put up with us doing evil for he wants us to have free will so that we might love him for when you are forced to love it is not love at all. But in that case, if you take evil to mean natural evil that has nothing to do with human choice such as famine and disease then the argument refutes God. Believers however claim that this evil is needed for a greater good too! They deny that any evil is bad enough to be intolerable by God.

If suffering is so necessary as the book says, then clearly if we get rid of AIDS God will have to replace it with another disease or perhaps a worse one! So why bother trying to get rid of AIDS? They will answer we should fight it for the training. This doctrine takes the virtue of fighting evil away from us. How could it be a virtue to fight disease when it is only going to cause God to send and devise new diseases? It implies that getting rid of AIDS is not what is praiseworthy but trying when we know our trying is of no importance and isn't going to make a real difference. This tells us not to have goals. It suggests our motive should be, ďWe are getting rid of this disease for it is training for us as good people not because we want to rid the world of disease. Thank goodness there is such a thing as people suffering so that we can do good for themĒ. If we don't have goals and don't think much of our efforts we will see little point in trying. To fight means you oppose the evil and regardless of training or any good in it you want rid of the evil EVEN IF THAT MEANS AVERTING THE GOOD RESULTS OF THE EVIL. In other words, to oppose suffering is to oppose God.


Christianity is an evil religion and like all public evil, it has to be cloaked in respectability. The God belief is at the root of this evil. Without the idea that God turns our evil into good, the world would be a lot less amenable to the God idea. It appeals to people who want to put hope before truth. Curiously, the God idea implies that this optimism is sinful. It is assuming we know God works to transform evil. Its too serious to just assume. If he gave us the power to do huge evil we should not be confident at all. If he is right to make us free to do evil, he does it so that we might be free and it is not about how much good can be done through the evil or how it can be transformed.


The paedophile can commit the sin of molestation and repent and be right with God again. If his religious optimism makes him believe that life will be good for him and not necessarily anybody else this will encourage him to act out his urge to be a child-molester. Jesus sternly warned that those who do not forgive will not be forgiven. So it follows that the victim is the one that is most likely to go to Hell and be damned forever for he or she is always unable to forgive though some may manage it eventually. Jesus didn't care if the struggle to forgive and the guilt about failing to ended up being worse than simply not forgiving. He didn't care if the cure was worse than the problem. It is possible to hate in a way that does your life good. He said one must gouge out one's eye rather than look lustfully at anyone. The Church says he meant that though we must not literally gouge out our roving eye we certainly must go to tremendous effort to prevent ourselves sinning with it. It follows then that the same goes for people who may be sources of temptation. They must dress so dowdily that they would be walking passion killers. An insinuation of Jesus' reasoning is that children are partly to blame for being molested for they don't make themselves ugly and wear bulky hideous clothes. You might say beauty is a gift from God and not to be hidden. Then you contradict yourself if you are a Christian by saying a woman with perfectly beautiful breasts should keep them covered if she can't find a husband.


To digress a bit, the book promises that any sceptic who prays for God to show him or her the truth will have the prayer answered. So if Christianity is true God will reveal it to the person provided the prayer was humble and was not unfairly asking God to do a miracle instead of letting him work on you his own way (page 387). I think the logic is perfect. If there is a God and if Christianity is true then this will happen. But millions have prayed this way and still found both to be untrue. Or they have went into a heretical Church like the Mormons, Jehovahís Witnesses or the Roman Catholics. It is like an experiment that proves that the religion is a pack of lies and errors. If the sceptic will get an answer by praying then so will the sceptic who does not pray for there will be somebody praying for him and Christians pray for the enlightenment of the whole world. Then the sceptic is being accused of knowing what the truth is and turning away from it. This is slander. But at least it tells you that you know if you do not believe in God or religion and know you are sincere then you know there is no God.

Insult after insult is heaped on the suffering of the world just to keep Godís reputation clean. It is those who profess to be the fans of God who are really being served by this.

The Handbook is insulting and shows that attempts to save God from the charge of tyranny donít work. Those who defend tyrants are tyrants themselves. They might charm people but that is because they don't have the guts to live up to the inherent evil of their beliefs.


We conclude that the notion that God lets bad things happen to the good to train them and bring blessings out of them for them is evil. It is a terrible thing to accuse a person of being trained and needing it when they suffer. Love the sinner and hate the sin is nonsense so the training is useless for it supposes the problem is sin. And the doctrine of the divine plan to bring good from evil looks optimistic and in fact is not. If you accept God as real you simply cannot be one of the innocent people who should not suffer!