People fanatically argue their religious beliefs, including the anti-religious views, how do we justify believing in a deity? How do we define the deity we believe in? I’m not wanting to cast doubt on peoples’ views, but here’s an interesting argument against theism.
How does one answer arguments of God’s non-existence based on suffering in the world? The argument goes something like this:
If the creator of the universe (I use this term loosely to describe deity) loves his/her creation, then the creator would prevent pain & suffering.
There is pain and suffering.
The Creator does nothing.
Therefore this deity doesn’t exist.
The obvious answer is that this would at best provide evidence for an indifferent deity, not necessarily a non-existent one, so this would generally be accompanied by other arguments, such as the argument from absence of evidence, or the argument by induction, both of which are beyond the scope of this discussion.
Another counter-argument would be that since the people who usually make this argument project the idea that they actually care about those who are suffering, then one could use their argument as a premise. Adding the premise that in many of the cases the argument is being made by someone who has things they don’t need, TV; smartphone; sound system or they consume cigarettes and alcohol, or even soft drinks, or other non-essential, possibly harmful foodstuffs. They are aware of suffering, they have things they don’t need, so they really aren’t doing what they can to alleviate suffering in the form of malnutrition. This would leave the argument with two possible conclusions, firstly, they don’t exist. Secondly, they aren’t benevolent enough to care, and their argument is insincere, but this wouldn’t necessarily make it incorrect.
Obviously, to get from a disinterested deity to a caring one is as difficult as getting from a disinterested deity to a non-existent one. The counter argument that the proposer of the argument is non-existent, is an interesting thought experiment which can lead to the realm of radical scepticism, in the form of “perhaps I don’t exist,” but the “not being benevolent enough to care argument” is more reasonable, though most would rather not admit to that.
I personally find atheism very implausible (based on mathematical probabilities), and have reasons for accepting Christianity over other religions, but I’m interested here in how others would respond to this, not only other Christians, but people with other views too. If you don’t want to leave a name, because you’re shy or whatever, just make a name up and comment. I’m just interested to know how people view deity, and how they defend their beliefs, should they feel the need. Opinions won’t be judged, but I, or other commentors may ask for clarity, you are free not to answer. I’ll do follow up posts, so if you’re interested check the box after the comment box, I’ll post links, or you can subscribe.
I’ve posted a follow up to this post:
Suffering; God and moral awareness