One of the big point/counter-points in the God debate is the existence of evil in the World.
People looking at the World through the lens of logic and common sense will often point out that, if God created everything, then he created all the evil, pain, and suffering in the World.
Those looking through the lens of mythology will counter the argument by saying that it was man who introduced these things through bad execution of their God-given free-will.
Before we continue, It’s important to stop here for a moment and discuss the term ‘Evil.’ When I, and many other atheists, talk about evil we are not referring to some concrete item or thing, in much the same way we would not call ‘good’ a thing; to do so is actually quite silly. Evil as a thing is a religious concept e.g. Satan, the Devil, demons, etc.
Instead, when most atheists talk about evil, they are talking about things that they find abhorrent such as: murder, rape, genocide, slavery, etc. These things are then clumped together in a category of things to which people give the label of Evil. Therefore, when most atheists talk about God’s having created evil they are not talking about him creating a specific thing, but rather talking about his creation of the things and conditions which they commonly call evil things.
So, with that out of the way, let’s pretend for a moment that God is real, and take a look at free will and the creation of evil through the lens of what the Bible and its apologists say about God.
Free Will is a term used to describe a person’s ability to make choices about any given situation: Will I have steak or chicken? Coke or Pepsi? Kill children or not? Eat from the tree or not? Commit adultery or not?, Commit Genocide or not? And so on. These choices are based on past experiences, how one thinks, perceptions, how one feels at the time of the decision, etc.
So where does this ability come from, well God of course since he created everything, and created man in their own image
It follows that if God created everything, he also created the human brain and the way it responds to experience and stimuli, as well as all of the ingredients that go into a person’s eventual decisions, so he also creates the result of those decisions. For example here’s a hypothetical situation:
Two people meet and fall in love. Both of these people were created by God, and the triggers for attraction between these people were also created by the same God, as were the sensations and thoughts that become the abstract concept of love. He also created the people, places, and things which led to the two lovebirds meeting in the first place. Meaning, they fell in love because of what God had created, and, as we’ll see later, he did this all on purpose, without the lovebirds having a choice (or freewill) in the matter.
Time goes by and the two people get married, move to Oklahoma, and have a daughter. Once again, the things which led to these decisions were created by God, and done so on purpose.
When the little girl is two weeks old, a massive tornado (purposely created by God), destroys the family’s home in the middle of the night killing the little girl who dies alone and crying under a pile of rubble which slowly crushes her to death, and also kills the mother when a beam from the ceiling crushes her skull. These deaths are the result of a combination of the mother’s and father’s decisions, which were in turn, created by God, and God’s decision to allow the tornado that he created to hit the family’s home.
In the aftermath of the disaster sent from God, something in the father’s brain (which the perfect God created) snaps. He buys an assault rifle from a local gun store and goes on a killing spree wherein he kills a playground full of women and their preschool-aged children.
So. Who’s fault was the death of dozens of preschool aged children and their mothers who had brought their children to the playground due to decisions that God created?
Well. I would say, that if God is real then it was God’s fault because he created the father, the father’s brain, the conditions which led to the father’s break, by proxy the assault rifle, the children who became targets, and the mothers who brought their children to the playground due to conditions which God had created leading to the decisions by the mothers. But, you might counter, it was the father’s decision to do the killing.
But, was it really his decision? Let’s see who actually made the decision, by looking a little deeper at the God myth.
According to believers, God is many things, but three things most of all: He is perfect, all-powerful, and he is all-knowing. The perfect part is stated and restated many times in the Bible, and churches everywhere. The all-powerful part is apparent in his ability to create and destroy anything, including two-week old children, or to keep them from being harmed, which is something we hear about all the time with lines like “God saved me from (insert any disaster or event here).” The all-knowing part of God is his ability to know everything that has happened, is happening, and ever will happen; something else stated and restated repeatedly.
So, as a perfect and all-knowing God, he created the people in the example above, as well as everything which led to every one of their decisions, with full knowledge of what all of this creation would eventually lead to; namely, the playground massacre. He knew every step of the way that the massacre was going to happen because of what he did. In fact, he was the only one with free-will in the entire situation, because what he created and when he created it caused everything else, including the father’s decision, to happen, and only he could have changed the creation of these things and the resulting carnage. And, I say again, God knew all of these things were going to happen while he was creating.
In short, God massacred those children. To say otherwise is to deny his being perfect, his being all-powerful or his being all-knowing. Denying any one of these things is denying the God myth as a whole.
Since God is all-powerful, and knows everything, he created Hitler and everything which led to the Holocaust with full knowledge of what he was doing. He did the same for Stalin, cancer, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Ebola, Charles Manson, Satan, 9/11, and Justin Bieber. Since he’s perfect he created these things intentionally. To only give God credit for good decisions and actions while denying God’s role in all of this suffering is to deny the myth of God himself.
One could even say that the denial of God’s existence was God’s creation and plan, so Atheists are doing God’s work. That’s if you believe that God is real in the first place which, logically, atheists like myself don’t.
In summary: If God is real then there is no such thing as free will. There is only that which is preordained by God, including death, disease, famine, murder, rape, genocide, infanticide, pain, suffering, Justin Bieber, and, of course, Evil. With a God like that, who needs a Devil?
Of course, there’s also the silly argument that God created, or at least, allows evil so that we would know how good he is, but that’s a whole other stupidity and discussion for another time.
- Ye Olde Problem of Evil [EvolutionBlog] (scienceblogs.com)