Intelligent Design

Here’s Why the Problem of Evil is a Religious Argument

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Election season is upon us and we hope for clarity in the debates to come. Too often campaign strategies involve ambiguity, avoiding difficult questions and political calculation. But sometimes the candidates’ positions on the issues, and their point of disagreement, are clear for all to see. I would rather have such clarity, even if I disagree on some of the issues. As with politics, the origins debate also sometimes lacks clarity. I don’t have a problem with disagreement, but I hope people understand what they are disagreeing on. A good example is the problem of evil. It is often at the heart of disagreements in the origins debate, and because it deals with ultimate issues it offers a clear distinction between positions. There’s just one problem: many people do not understand it, including those who use it.  Read more

10 Replies to “Here’s Why the Problem of Evil is a Religious Argument

  1. 1
    Dr JDD says:

    When atheists bring the problem of evil to the table, I now bring the problem of good.

    Atheists claim the problem of evil is a problem for theism. Yet they do not believe that the existence of good is a problem for evolution and their naturalism.

    Therefore, I bring the POG to the atheist.

  2. 2
    Andre says:

    I think the problem of evil is actually a theistic argument over any other explanation…. here is why and CS Lewis said it better than any……

    “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”

    But here is my take on pain and suffering; It was through pain and suffering that Christ displayed his glory to us”

  3. 3
    awstar says:

    From CH post:

    Coyne gives no reference to creationists, but even if there was a creationist who said God would never create lanugo in human embryos, it would not mean that lanugo could only be explained with evolution. Such metaphysical certainty requires a strong underlying premise. Lanugo could not have been intended or created by the Creator, period. Not according to some creationist. Only religion can provide such certainty. The claim that Coyne, Myer and the rest are merely testing the creationist model is a canard.

    The creationist model only fails the POE argument if evil is permanent. But since the Bible based creationist model states that evil has been overcome, and in the future will be done away with, then their argument that they are testing the creationist model is doubly a canard, and in fact helps prove the Bible based creationist model as to why humans try to deceive.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Two questions, first question, when did Christians, or Theists in general, ever deny the existence of evil in the world? The overcoming of evil in the world by Jesus is pretty much central, even the very heart I would say, of the Gospel!

    And second question, how is one able to discern the existence of evil if there is no objective standard of good that has been departed from?

    Mere Christianity (Moral Law) by C.S. Lewis Doodle
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_VYCqCexow

    supplemental note on the Argument from Evil. A Darwinist recently stated the argument from evil like this

    “Cruel and unjust from the viewpoint of a loving and caring God, as he’s portrayed in popular culture and as most believers consider God to be.,,,
    The concept of such a God is totally incompatible with the grotesque violence inherent in nature.”
    Evolve – UD blogger

    But apparently what that Darwinist completely failed to realize is that the grotesque violence of the crucifixion of Christ is the very method in which God chose to redeem mankind from sin and death with!
    Thus, apparently unbeknownst to that Darwinist, it is, in fact, completely compatible for ‘a loving and caring God’ to allow grotesque violence to exist in order to achieve his desired purpose of redeeming mankind from sin and death.

    Detailed Forensic Evidence of The Shroud – video
    Excerpt: “it is definitely an anatomically and forensically correct depiction of a victim of a Roman crucifixion.”
    http://www.shroud-enigma.com/w.....ology.html

    Forensic evidence of the Shroud of Turin – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5QEsaNiMVc

    Turin Shroud: a medical forensic study of its blood marks and image – G.Lavoie – May 2010
    Abstract – From extensive analytical studies of the Shroud of Turin we know that the image is not man-made, and from medical forensic studies of the blood marks we know that a crucified man was laid out on his back and wrapped in this cloth. But the question still remains as to what caused the shroud image. A forensic evaluation of the blood marks and a study of the effect of gravity on surface anatomy suggest that a natural event is not the most probable cause of shroud image formation.
    http://www.acheiropoietos.info.....oieWeb.pdf

    Shroud Of Turin – 3 Dimensional Hologram Reveals Words ‘The Lamb’ – video
    https://vimeo.com/97156784

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    “We are His masterpiece. The greatest creation he has ever made. See what God has to offer you. See what he can do and you will be amazed. When something hits you hard, don’t put that blame on God put that weight on God. Say, “God, take that weight off me.” And he will and He will carry you through the shadow of death, because He wants you to come out on the other side.”
    – Mark Herzlich – The Linebacker Who Couldn’t Be Stopped by Cancer – video
    http://www.cbn.com/tv/3775240000001

    That inspirational quote by Mark Herzlich reminds me of the very different ways that Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln handled tragedy in their lives. Both Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on the same day and shared many strange similarities:

    “Both men lost their mothers in early childhood, both suffered depression and both struggled with religious questions. The two also had poor relations with their fathers and each lost a child in early childbirth. Lincoln and Darwin both share “late bloomers” disease: Neither found real success until their middle years — Darwin published The Origin of the Species at 50 and Lincoln was elected President one year later.”
    http://askjohnmackay.com/quest.....ristianity

    But the thing they had in common that separated the two men drastically was the way they choose to handle tragedy in their lives. Darwin, though drifting away for a long while earlier, was permanently driven away from God because of the death of his daughter:

    “The death of his daughter was a significant event in Darwin’s life, and certainly consolidated his belief that a bad world is incompatible with a good God.”
    http://askjohnmackay.com/quest.....ristianity

    Whereas Lincoln was driven from his mild skepticism into a deeper reliance upon God because of the death of his son:

    Abraham Lincoln’s Path to Divine Providence
    Excerpt: In 1862, when Lincoln was 53 years old, his 11-year-old son Willie died. Lincoln’s wife “tried to deal with her grief by searching out New Age mediums.” Lincoln turned to Phineas Gurley, pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington. Several long talks led to what Gurley described as “a conversion to Christ.” Lincoln confided that he was “driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I have nowhere else to go.”
    http://www.christianity.com/th.....99728.html

    Thus to repeat Mark Herzlich’s very wise quote,,,

    “When something hits you hard, don’t put that blame on God put that weight on God..”
    – Mark Herzlich

    Verse and Music:

    Proverbs 3:5
    Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not depend on your own understanding.

    “Carry Me” lyric video by Josh Wilson
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jZmBQn_018

  6. 6
    JDH says:

    A take on the POE I have not seen yet. I would appreciate any critiques.

    I think that we must go beyond the fact that the definition of evil demands a concept of good. I think we must show that given an all powerful, good God, the POE really only exists in the finite person’s mind. There is no POE when the infinite is considered.

    1. My first point starts off as usual defense against POE. God has designed the world with an optimum destiny for his created beings. This design of God is good. I add that the design of God involves eternity.

    2. Evil can only be considered evil if it reduces the optimum state (i.e. causes real suffering) of a created sentient being. (For example you can’t do evil to a rock even if you crush it. OTOH it seems evil to deliberately destroy a rock which has been crafted by someone into a statue that sentient beings, including the sculptor, admire.)

    3. God has included free will amongst the creatures that inhabit His universe. If these decisions are in the smallest part free, there is the possibility of finite amounts of evil caused by decisions that are not optimum. Less than optimum choices by finite beings can create either self-inflicted suffering, or the suffering of others. However, it should be noted that the extent of this evil and the resultant suffering, is always finite. I do not know of anyway that one finite being can eternally harm another finite being. God can always intervene in the eternal.

    4. The destiny God wants for all the sentient beings is to have eternal life.

    5. We have numerous case histories on earth (indeed it is part of pop culture) where sentient beings, have commented that a little finite in time suffering they have suffered has actually made them better people and they are thankful for it. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

    6. Any finite amount of suffering caused in our finite lives will be insignificant
    compared to the glory of eternity. In mathematical terms, any finite number divided by infinity is still zero no matter how large the finite number.

    This is not a case of later compensation for present suffering. Its just that something that exists in finite suffering, although it may seem evil, is not ultimately evil. The only evil that can be significant at all in view of eternity, must have eternal consequences. Otherwise it is not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us. This is a hard concept to believe for someone who has seen a murder, or a genocide, or witnessed many lives lost in a natural disaster. But this is just because of the finite perspective of the observer. None of these things effect the eternal state of a sentient being.

    Concepts of infinity are hard to understand. But we do know that no finite value of anything can be compared in any meaningful way to something infinite.

    7. Then what about the fact that God condemns some people to an eternity of hell. Is this not evil? No.

    Through Jesus Christ God has made it possible for any of his sentient beings to join him in eternity. He has provided the choice for anyone to avoid eternal suffering. IMHO He has fashioned the world such that the only logical choice is believe in Him. The fact that some people choose to disbelieve God is not based on evidence, but their choice to find a justification to disbelieve the evidence.

    8. So in light of eternity, the problem of evil is not a problem of God. It is a problem of our finite concept. God has never proclaimed in any way that a finite amount of suffering is bad. He allows what we label as evil to cause finite suffering. He disallows a finite being from doing any evil to another being which cause eternal consequences.

    9. He also respects the choices of those sentient created beings who freely choose for themselves eternal suffering. But no being has to choose this or will choose this who objectively analyzes the evidence.

    Hence no POE.

  7. 7
  8. 8
    KRock says:

    The POE is not just a problem for the Theist it is also a problem for the atheist. And if you ever wanted an unsatisfying answer to the POE, look no further than within the naturalistic worldview. If there is no ultimate meaning or purpose outside of one’s self, then the same must hold true of morality. The naturalist is forced to conclude, “to each his own.” Sadly, they rarely follow their own logical path to “moral relativism.” They of course, want to have their cake and eat it too.

    “You can not define good and evil until you define purpose.” Ravi Zackarias.

  9. 9
    Joe says:

    The alleged “problem of evil” only exists in the minds of ignorant atheists. People are responsible for their actions yet atheists blame God. Only ignorant cry-babies would do that.

    Then there is the Fall from Grace in Genesis. To Judaism, Christianity and Islam that explains evil. Also if this was a perfect world how could we be judged? What would we be driven to learn?

    So the bottom line is the problem of evil is how one deals with it. The existence of evil definitely doesn’t do anything to the existence of God. Again only whiny cry-babies try to make that connection.

  10. 10
    jerry says:

    Also if this was a perfect world how could we be judged? What would we be driven to learn?

    True. The people who use the presence of “evil” argument, and they are not just atheists never consider what the world would be like that would not have any so called “evil” acts in it.

    There would be no free will, no meaningful reason for being. The whole reason for existence would be pointless. We would all exist is some type of LA LA land where we just exist. My wife’s problem with heaven is that it sound so uninteresting. Just imagine how boring heaven on earth would be like if the progressives are ever able to achieve it.

    Then there is the problem of just what is “evil.” No good definition of it exists. It is often described as “lack of good” or gratuitous unfortunate occurrences/suffering to individuals or groups. But these definitions or concepts are lacking in clarity or specificity. They are too vague to be of any use.

    But it is one of the vacuous arguments against design that is trotted out by those that will cling to anything but the obvious.

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