Is God Evil? A Response; Part Two

Daniel Florien, as I hoped he would, is continuing his series on exploring whether or not the God of the Bible is actually evil, contrary to what us Christians would want you to believe.  Well, more accurately, Daniel isn’t really technically exploring the issue, he’s already decided that God IS evil and is going through the Bible looking for support for this position.  I’m also not sure that continuing is an accurate description of his latest post.  As you read his post, you might think of it as a re-hash of the earlier Adam and Eve post and I’d have to agree.  His latest post seems more like a “big picture” treatment of the Adam and Eve article. 

As in the previous post in the series, Daniel uses conveniently misunderstood facts and strawmen, and erroneous logic, to put the blame on God.  In fact . . .

Accurately Describing Genesis, the Blame is Not on God

To begin his article, Daniel uses an analogy to describe the situation in the Garden of Eden.

Professor Sidney was proud — he was the creator of the first sentient, emotional beings made by man.

Right there, we’re starting off on a bad foot because man wasn’t created by another created, fallible creature.  Man was created by an all-powerful, all-knowing God.

The Humloids (as he called them) were programmed with instructions to pick any of the flowers in the biodome except one.

That’s just plain inaccurate.  Humans were not “programmed” in the same sense that a man made computer program is.  We were given our DNA and our morphological traits, but also given free will.  A more accurate analogy would be the father of grown children:  Is he really to blame for what his twenty-five year old son and daughter do?  Why not?  His children have free will do they not? 

The subject of Adam and Eve’s free will was also conveniently missing from Daniel’s previous post on the subject, and the error was pointed out to him.  Why, then, is Daniel still subscribing to the error?  Because he must in order to put the blame on God.

They thought they would die if they picked the forbidden flower — a harmless little joke that still made him chuckle.

They DID die for picking the fruit.  God never said they would die immediately, but the moment they ate of the fruit, they began to die. 

Here were his beloved Humloids — with the forbidden flower in their hair! They had done what he had forbidden! He was furious! He would kill them all! No — a slow death would be better. He would make them suffer.

This is where Daniel’s initial decision to make the designer in his analogy a human is key.  If the designer is a fallible human being then his analogy makes us angry.  How dare a human decide that another being should suffer!  However, if Daniel was accurate to the Biblical story, the designer would have to be an infallible, all-powerful, all-knowing God. 

Erroneous Logic

Only an all-powerful, all-knowing, Just and Righteous God has the right, nay the obligation, to punish His creation when they disobey Him.  This is absolutely a part of the Biblical doctrine of the nature of God.  However, the attributes of Love and Grace are also very explicit in the Biblical text. 

God gave Adam and Eve life, and everything they ever wanted.  With His love, God gave them literally a paradise in which to live.  No death, no suffering, not even vanity.  He only asked ONE thing of them.  And they couldn’t do it.  To affirm the story of the Garden and Eve, and yet dis affirm the REASON for God’s actions, and why He is able to punish His creation, is to be logically inconsistent. 

Even if Daniel wants to talk about Genesis in the form of a myth-story, that works too.  Part of the myth-story is that God is Just, Righteous and Holy.  If the prospect of such a God offends Daniel, as it obviously does, then fine, be an atheist.  But to treat the actions of God in that myth-story with a critical eye while ignoring the reasons the myth-story gives for God’s actions, his Justice and Righteousness, is to twist the story for your own benefit.  Daniel is literally creating His own version of a god who isn’t Just and Righteous, applying that to the God described in the Bible, and then attempting to call that God evil. 

Daniel:  “Only an evil God commits those acts.”

The Bible:  “Only a Righteous God is justified in those acts”

What’s the difference?  Daniel starts with the presupposition that God is subject to Daniel’s morality while the Bible presupposes that humanity is subject to God’s morality. 

Further, are we really accurately describing the human experience as nothing but “suffering”, as Daniel puts it?  

Strawmen!

Daniel then decides to strawman Christian beliefs in an attempt to show how absurd they are.  It’s easy to do.  In a section entitled, “Is that Why Bad Things Happen?”, Daniel lists a few things that are bad and why the strawmanned Christian explanations are wrong.

When an innocent baby dies of a birth defect, is it because our ancestors ate some fruit? . . . I don’t think so. Birth defects happen because of medical problems, which we have gotten better at screening and fixing.

Daniel can’t really be suggesting that a Christian denies the natural explanations for medical problems and immediately goes back to the Garden can he?  Sadly, yes.  I’ll let the absurdity of that strawman stand for itself.

When a daughter is raped and killed by her step-father, is it because the step-father inherited “original sin”? . . . People are raped and killed by others not because we all have original sin, but because some people are mentally unstable, which through medication and therapy can sometimes be remedied.

Notice how Daniel didn’t call a rapist and a murderer “evil”, only “mentally unstable”.  He isn’t willing to hold fellow human beings to the “evil” standard, but he’ll happily apply it to God.  I smell a bias!  I’ll come back to how this isn’t an answer either.

When a tsunami destroys a city and millions are killed, is it because of an ancient myth passed on for thousands of years before it was written down? . . . Natural disasters occur not because some invisible man in the sky controls them, but because of natural forces on this earth.

This isn’t a why answer because . . . 

There is no “Why” in Atheism

At the beginning of the section, Daniel asks the question, “why do bad things happen?”.  In none of his examples and answers, does Daniel answer the question.  Go back to the quotes and see for yourself, does Daniel answer “why”?  No really, I want you to go back and re-read them, it’ll only take a second, just read the parts in quotations.  

He only answers how.  

It’s not his fault.  Atheism can’t answer why.  Think about it, why do natural disasters happen?  Because of natural forces.  That’s begging the question isn’t it?!  It’s just like saying, “Natural disasters happen because natural forces cause them.”  Circular!  Why do the natural forces cause them?!

Why is a metaphysical question.  Atheism cannot answer metaphysical questions without being inconsistent.  So when Daniel mocks the Christian answers of why, he is only trying to cover up that he has no answer!  Every time an atheist attempts to answer why he’s truly only answering how.  It’s the best that he can do.

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21 Comments on “Is God Evil? A Response; Part Two”

  1. Dan L. Says:

    I think Daniel understands that Adam and Eve SUPPOSEDLY have free will. In fact, he goes through great pains to argue that “free will” is meaningless when there is an omniscient and omnipotent God.

    If you guys were more clear about what you meant by “free will,” we skeptics would happily point out the logical contradictions involved. But you guys never let the conversation get that far before sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting “lalalala.”

  2. matt Says:

    1. Does there have to be a why? Are we so narcissistic that the universe still has to revolve around us?

    2. Just because he doesn’t have a why yet, doesn’t mean he might not find a why.
    I am an atheist as much as Daniel is, but I still reflect on the human condition and perhaps what ties all religions together. I feel like religions are part myth, part attempt to explain human morality and/or the human condition.
    But really, we’re carbon based life forms in a largely lifeless universe. Once we find life of any kind (down to the bacterium) on any other planet that has not been touched by us (and I think this has already happened), the idea of human exceptional-ism is blown out of the water. Unless aliens get their own alien jesus.

    3. What if the ‘why’ is nothing? That could be bothersome to many people, but I find it more beautiful than any dictatorial god-figure causing things to happen.

    4. Most Buddhists are atheists yet their world still contains much why, and much searching for this ‘why’. I feel like the western religions are missing out by really lashing back against such progressive introspection. Rather than apply human reason to topics such as god’s inscrutable will, it seems you and your fellow christians are content to chalk it up to god being too smart for us folk.

    Finally, I think Florien’s logic still holds – god made a world, god made humans with some level of reasoning skills, but obviously not knowledge, or knowledge of good and evil. This knowledge is the only thing that could keep them from eating the apple. After all, not knowing anything would make it hard for someone so stupid or un-knowledgeable as a stone age human to not disobey some order. and then the all seeing all knowing all destroying god allows a renegade snake-thing-angel run amok, tempting his creations. This doesn’t sound fair no matter which way you slice it, to me.
    And we’re not the only ones, there was an essay I once read invoking gnosticism which stated that Jesus was god’s apology for making the world so messed up. I thought it made sense, except for the believing in god bit of course ; )

    Cheers

  3. Dan L. Says:

    Daniel can’t really be suggesting that a Christian denies the natural explanations for medical problems and immediately goes back to the Garden can he? Sadly, yes. I’ll let the absurdity of that strawman stand for itself.

    No, you’re mixing up the “why” and the “how” just as you excoriate Daniel for doing a little farther downthread. Christians can certainly buy into naturalistic explanations. Unfortunately, since there’s so much unpleasantness in the world, Christians have to do a little more explaining: why would a loving God allow this to happen?

    What Daniel is doing is pointing out that it makes no sense to blame ALL the bad things that happen to good people on Adam and Eve disobeying God in the garden. This is separate from the point that punishing Adam and Eve for disobeying him would be unjust in the first place, as he CREATED them and knew EVERYTHING THEY WOULD EVER DO WHEN HE DID SO (he’s omniscient, after all). It was God’s decision how strong Eve’s willpower would be, and it was his decision to put the snake in the garden. It was God’s decision to put the tree there. And he made all these decisions (presumably) knowing everything that was going to happen next.

    “Why” is not a metaphysical question. It makes perfect sense to ask “why is the sky blue?” and it makes perfect sense to answer with a description of the physical principles that result in the sky being blue. Your objection is a strawman. “Why” is not inherently different from “how” unless you specify that, for the purposes of THIS discussion, “why” is only to be used in a metaphysical sense and not a causal sense.

    And causal answers to “why” questions are not circular, though they do run into some tricky problems at the theoretical beginning of time. Why did the Indonesian tsunami happen? An earthquake caused by a subduction fault. Of course, you can ask “why” again, but there’s another answer for that, and so on back, as I said, to the beginning of time.

    And of course, you can insist that God is necessary to explain the beginning of time, but I haven’t heard any sound arguments why that should be the case (even if you have such an argument, it wouldn’t unequivocally endorse the Christian God). If you want to believe that, go ahead, but I would call it a completely arbitrary belief. For myself, I don’t make up reasons for things just because I don’t know. I try to figure it out.

  4. House Says:

    “(even if you have such an argument, it wouldn’t unequivocally endorse the Christian God). If you want to believe that, go ahead, but I would call it a completely arbitrary belief.”

    People have been pointing this out to kemp for a while now. He just ignores the point. I don’t expect you to get much further with it either.

  5. Eric Kemp Says:

    House

    I’m curious, do actually have any arguments or value to add to any of the conversations, or are you just hear to insult me?

  6. dwilli58 Says:

    Why is a metaphysical question. Atheism cannot answer metaphysical questions without being inconsistent. So when Daniel mocks the Christian answers of why, he is only trying to cover up that he has no answer! Every time an atheist attempts to answer why he’s truly only answering how. It’s the best that he can do.

    When there is no foundation to stand firm on, then it becomes impossible to stand!

    I’m curious, do (you) actually have any arguments or value to add to any of the conversations, or are you just hear to insult me?

    “Trolls” can only function in this manner!

    and even a better explanation:

    And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (John 4: 3-4)

  7. Outside Says:

    “I’m curious, do actually have any arguments or value to add to any of the conversations, or are you just hear to insult me?”

    As its been pointed out to you in the past, time and time again, you misunderstand what an argument is. When you do, I’ll stop mocking you.

  8. Eric Kemp Says:

    Outside (House)

    The fact that you are seriously trying to assert that I don’t understand what an argument is, is flat hypocritical. You’ve run away from every call for honest discussion, only to reappear when you think the coast is clear, and the previous call for discussion has been forgotten. This is your M.O. You show nothing and argue nothing, you only assert your opinion (mostly consisting of an insult) with no attempt at rationality or clarity. Last chance for rational discussion; please show me exactly HOW I’ve been told “time and time again” what an argument is, how exactly it is that I’m missing the point, and how, specifically, that invalidates my arguments.

  9. Eric Kemp Says:

    Matt

    “1. Does there have to be a why? Are we so narcissistic that the universe still has to revolve around us?”

    I love it. When a scientist asks “why” (eventhough they’re only really asking “how”) it’s science, but when a Christian asks “why” it’s narcissism. But you know, you’re being consistent with your atheism. To you, there is no why. So you must pretend it can’t exist.

    “2. Just because he doesn’t have a why yet, doesn’t mean he might not find a why.”

    You miss the point. It’s not that Daniel doesn’t know the why “yet”, it’s that there IS NO why for atheists. There can’t be.

    “I feel like religions are part myth, part attempt to explain human morality and/or the human condition.”

    I’m going to ask you the all important question, brace yourself. How do you know this? That is, while Christianity does explain human morality and the “human condition” as you put it, how do you know that Christianity isn’t ALSO reporting historical fact?

    “Once we find life of any kind (down to the bacterium) on any other planet that has not been touched by us (and I think this has already happened), the idea of human exceptional-ism is blown out of the water. Unless aliens get their own alien jesus.”

    This is kind of ironic. On the one hand, the reason you don’t believe in God is because “there is no evidence”, yet you believe in sentient life on other planets with no evidence. More importantly, you believe, with no evidence, that Christianity depends upon “human exceptionalism”, why wouldn’t alien have their own alien Jesus?

    “3. What if the ‘why’ is nothing? That could be bothersome to many people, but I find it more beautiful than any dictatorial god-figure causing things to happen.”

    Really? You find that there is no “why” to your life beautiful? There is no meaning, no purpose, and no choice, you will be annihilated. This is beautiful?

    “4. Rather than apply human reason to topics such as god’s inscrutable will, it seems you and your fellow christians are content to chalk it up to god being too smart for us folk.”

    If you don’t think that Christians aren’t constantly trying to de-code God’s Will for their lives, you don’t know Christians.

    “Finally, I think Florien’s logic still holds – god made a world, god made humans with some level of reasoning skills, but obviously not knowledge, or knowledge of good and evil. This knowledge is the only thing that could keep them from eating the apple.”

    Uh, that’s circular. The apple WAS the knowledge of good and evil, meaning they would know they had chosen evil, and finally know what evil is. How having the very thing the apple gave them prevent them from eating the apple? In fact, that doesn’t even make sense. If they already had the knowledge of evil, there would be no need for an apple.

    “After all, not knowing anything would make it hard for someone so stupid or un-knowledgeable as a stone age human to not disobey some order. and then the all seeing all knowing all destroying god allows a renegade snake-thing-angel run amok, tempting his creations. This doesn’t sound fair no matter which way you slice it, to me.”

    You see, you are #1 assuming the “stone age” people are stupid. Watch out, your ethnocentrism is showing. It’s not that hard to comprehend a commandment from the God who created you. And #2, you are making the same fallacy that Dan does over and over again, you are ignoring the free will of Adam and Eve, AND the free will of the snake. But this you must do in order to blame God, this you must do in order to deny God.

  10. dwilli58 Says:

    Eric,

    I encourage you to delete the “trolls,” and you know who they are. That way you can respond to those who really wish to discuss an issue, not “argue,” but discuss!

    Remember:

    A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind. Proverbs 18: 2

    A fool’s mouth is his ruin, And his lips are the snare of his soul. Proverbs 18: 7

    Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. Proverbs 26: 12

  11. Hat Says:

    “(even if you have such an argument, it wouldn’t unequivocally endorse the Christian God). If you want to believe that, go ahead, but I would call it a completely arbitrary belief”

    Eric has no answer to this. It is why he didn’t respond to you, and is also why he will delete this comment.

    Eric Kemp, Intellectually Bankrupt or Dishonest.

    Pick one.

  12. Eric Kemp Says:

    Troll

    I told you why I was deleting your comments. Because you only insult. You have no argument and you make no attempt at argument. So don’t complain about what you have been warned about. As is evidenced by the many discussions that have taken place on here, I have no problem allowing and tackling ANY argument put in front of me. That isn’t to say that I always “win” or whatever word you want to use, but I at least make an attempt. There has been no such occasion to argue with you in this way.

    Case in point: There have been so many arguments made on this site in favor of this all-powerful benevolent God which fits the Christian worldview; pick one and argue against it or your comments get deleted. It’s that simple. Actually I’ll link one that answers your challenge directly to make it easier for you. Go ahead, challenge yourself, can you give an argument without insulting?

  13. Hat Says:

    Funny, the deleted comment wasn’t insulting, however you choose to post the one that is.

  14. Hat Says:

    Honestly there is no need to debate you. You are a YEC. Once you run into that brick wall trying to debate you is just a waste of time. The Flintsones is not a Documentary.

    Price, an exceedingly patient individual, has already done so with, as I expected, little effect.

    I don’t even read much of your posts past the first two or three sentences. Circular Logic, baseless assumptions and legions of strawmen all look the same and gets rather tiresome.

    I do read what the others have to say.

  15. Eric Kemp Says:

    If it wasn’t insulting I would have approved it.

    But that’s exactly right, you won’t form an argument. You can come up with whatever ad hominem attacks and strawmen to make excuses (it would be like me going to your blog and saying, “you’re a billigerent atheist, I win!”) but the bottom line is, you won’t debate me. Dress it up how you like, no one will care, they’re only excuses. You said it yourself, you don’t read what I have to say, you only read the other side. You show you have no interest in understanding any opposing viewpoint but the one you’ve decided upon. And yet I’M the irrational one. I love it.

    I have debated Price, but I haven’t had the time to keep up with him (he writes novels). Admitting that you won’t debate me but begrudging me a life outside of the blogosphere seems a bit disingenuous doesn’t it Troll?

  16. Hat Says:

    “If it wasn’t insulting I would have approved it.”

    Oh, it must have been the words “Whine and Moan” so sad those words can upset a grown man so much. Sorry for you.

    Then again it did have the “examples” of other people asking you the same question over and over again. You never answer, or sidestep and evade the question.

    “begrudging me a life outside of the blogosphere”

    Instead of re-inventing the square wheel over and over again, You could save some time by cut and pasting from the Apologetics playbook instead of pretending that you’ve come up with something that hasn’t been picked apart time and time again.

  17. Eric Kemp Says:

    Troll

    I have an honest question. You have shown and admitted that you have no desire to form an argument against me. You only desire to insult and to repeat assertions without explanation or support. But you know, that’s fine. Not everyone has to be good at forming arguments, or explanation. Some can just believe without being able to explain why.

    But then, why do you keep coming back? Honestly, why do you feel the desire to try to bring me down? I really hope you answer this because I’m seriously curious, why are you so bitter towards those who stand up for the Christian worldview? There is no sarcasm or facetiousness in this, I truly want to know.

  18. dwilli58 Says:

    Troll says,

    “Instead of re-inventing the square wheel over and over again,”

    You must be joking, troll? This is what material science does every day! The make-it-up-as-we-go, lab-coated, pocket-protecting introverts are always “reinventing,” and “imagining” a new evolutionary or “multi-verse” wheel to explain away their last, blind mistake!

    If you’re so right, in your beliefs (because that is all they are!), then why bother attacking those who disagree with you? Are you uncertain about what you believe? That would be my guess! Are you so malcontented and lonely that you, and the ilk like you, have nothing better to do? Fly away little Troll! Be gone!!

  19. Brian Says:

    For the atheist to be consistent, they cannot ask about “bad” things because there is no good or bad if there is no standard (i.e. a God). Who sets the standard for good and bad?

  20. Eric Kemp Says:

    Brian

    Good question! One they have no answer for.

  21. Angela Who Says:

    I’ve been over to that guy Daniel Florien page that’s writing about God being Evil. He isn’t peddling atheism he has stated he is an ex-Christian. So therefore he is in full awareness of God, so what He is peddling is Satanism!.. He isn’t stating God doesn’t exists, he is stating God is Evil..!


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