Thursday, September 1, 2011

Good Intentions

As I have mentioned many times before, the one thing all Atheists must do is defend their position, their reason for not believing in any deities. Just like all theists must defend their reason for believing in their chosen god(s). Although I am firmly against this blog directly attacking any religion, Atheistic or otherwise, I also feel it is important to offer ampule evidence, reason, and logic to help those who must defend themselves.

I'm sure you can see my dilemma.

As such, I must offer a refutation, one that can be seen as an attack. And while my refutation will be specific, its use can be quite generalized. I would just like to clear up that this is not an attack, just a specific example, like the ones I have used in the past. In fact, it is a response to the Problem of Evil argument.

"Just because God CAN do something, that doesn't mean he WILL do it!"

I can see where this is coming from, but under the circumstances, I'm afraid I must disagree.

For those who are not familiar with the Problem of Evil argument, it typically goes as follows:

If God is willing, but not able, why call him omnipotent?
If God is able, but not willing, why call him benevolent?
If God is both willing and able, why is there evil?
If God is neither willing nor able, why call him God?

The above quote is a generalization of the typical answer. It usually takes the form of "No one understands his ways" or "Perhaps he requires something from us?"

The reason I disagree is because we are not using the actual God as the example. We are using what we have described him as in various conversations and documents. God is almost always described as All Knowing, All Powerful, and All Loving. Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnibenevolent. If these are the characteristics and abilities we are attributing to God, then there are certain things God will and won't do.

For example, God would not cause harm, as he is omnibenevolent, God can do anything, as he is omnipotent, and God knows everything, as he is omniscient. One characteristic and two abilities.

If God is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnibenevolent, all at the same time, then there are three things we can infer from this.

1) God is able to do good
2) God knows how to do good.
3) God is willing to do good.

This falls into the third premise of the Problem of Evil argument, "Why is there evil?" If God wants to do as much good as possible, and can do anything, and knows both of these things, why has he not eliminated evil? Why does it still exist?

As stated, one of the arguments I have received on this topic basically said "He is expecting something from us and will not help until then." That's all well and good, but that means he is not yet willing to help. He is unwilling to do good in this instance. Which brings us back to #2, why call him benevolent?

As for the final argument, "God works in mysterious ways," there is only one response. There must be something that is more good than removing all that is bad. If this is the case, then there is only one thing left to do, one question left to ask.

What good act could be greater than eliminating everything that is bad?