Victor Reppert on the Argument from Evil as a Reductio

(Redated post originally published on 12 June 2012)Can atheist who rejects moral realism press the argument from evil? Many theists, including William Lane Craig and Ravi Zacharias, have argued that the answer is "no." In my old critique of one of Zacharias's books, I wrote the following. Zacharias presents two objections to AE. First, he suggests that it is incoherent for atheists to appeal to evil as evidence of the nonexistence of God since objective moral evil could not exist if there … [Read more...]

Do Proponents of the Argument from Evil Try to Have it Both Ways? A Reply to David Wood

(Redated post originally published on 26 October 2011)According to David Wood (see here), atheists who appeal to the argument from evil are logically inconsistent. Why? Wood offers the following explanation: For instance, atheists seem to be arguing (1) that human beings are so good that God shouldn’t allow us to suffer, and (2) that human beings are so bad that God shouldn’t have created us (or given us free will, etc.). That is, atheists are simply shocked that a good God would allow hum … [Read more...]

Weighing Theistic Evidence Against Naturalistic Evidence

In the next-to-last paragraph of his book, C.S. Lewis' Dangerous Idea: In Defense of the Argument from Reason, Victor Reppert makes a very interesting statement: However, I contend that the arguments from reason do provide some substantial reasons for preferring theism to naturalism. The "problem of reason" is a huge problem for reason, as serious or, I would say, more serious, than the problem of evil is for theists. (emphasis mine) I think this is a very interesting statement for two r … [Read more...]

Is There a Problem of Evil for Atheism?

In response to various arguments from evil for atheism, some theists attempt to turn the tables on atheists and argue that evil is at least as much of a problem for atheism as it is for theism. I've argued repeatedly that this response completely misses the point that the problem of evil can be understood as a reductio against theism (see, for example, here). And what has the response of those theists been? Silence. Or, at the very least, if they have responded, I'm unaware of it. (Please feel … [Read more...]

WLC Denies That Anyone Has Ever Died a Sincere Seeker Without Finding God

Can anyone sincerely lack belief in God? And even if they can, can anyone sincerely lack belief in God for the rest of their lives? Many people, including nontheists but not just nontheists, think the answer to both questions is plainly "yes." But some (many?) theists, no doubt motivated by beliefs such as divine goodness, Biblical inerrancy, and Christian particularism, deny this for the second question and possibly the first.  We'll call people who deny a "yes" answer to the second quest … [Read more...]

The Irrelevance of Naturalistic Metaethics to Arguments from Evil Against God’s Existence

Consider the following exchange between Christi, a Christian, and Natty, a naturalist, on the problem of evil. Natty: If God exists, then why is there so much evil and suffering in the world?Christi: Well, if God exists, it's logically possible that so much of the evil and suffering in the world is due to the free choices made by humans exercising their free will. At this point, astute readers will notice that Christi has just invoked the Free Will Defense (FWD). Let's continue: Natty: … [Read more...]

Hypocrisy on Moral Arguments, Arguments from Evil, and Logical Inconsistency

Many theists are fond of linking the problem of evil with a moral argument for God's existence. The idea is that by making an argument from evil against God's existence, the atheist has supposedly contradicted herself since the the argument from evil presupposes an objective evil and objective evil, in turn, presupposes God's existence.Since I've refuted that claim before, I want to explore a different aspect of linking these two kinds of arguments, namely, the double standard which … [Read more...]

The Slaughter of the Canaanites – Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, I outlined three main Christian responses to the stories of Jehovah commanding the slaughter of the Canaanites and of the Israelites carrying out this command.  There are significant problems with each of the three Christian responses, but the response with the most obvious and most serious problems is the Conservative one.1. The Conservative Christian response: The story of the slaughter of the Canaanites is FACTUAL, but Jehovah was morally justified in commanding … [Read more...]