The Problem of Evil: Obstacles to Faith with Mark Mittelberg, Part 2

The Problem of Evil: Obstacles to Faith with Mark Mittelberg, Part 2 March 10, 2015

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In Christianity, we have what is known as “The Problem of Evil”. This is why many people say, “That’s why I can’t be a Christian. God can’t be good and great and still allow evil to exist in our world.”

My question to them is: What is your alternative?

No one is neutral on this subject. Eventually, each person lands on some worldview, or reconciliation of how this whole “Problem of Evil” works out.

As I understand it, there are basically two other perspectives in regards to this other than the Christian worldview. The fist one is Atheism. Atheism denies that God exists; therefore there is no ultimate good or evil. Now, a lot of Atheists claim, “Of course there is, you just know what is good and bad.” Well, that may be true, but that’s actually an argument for the Christian worldview. The Bible talks about the conscience that God has placed within every human being, and how we are created in the image of a moral God who gives us a moral sensibility. But within Atheism, there is no objective grounding for seeing what is right or wrong; and ultimately they can’t make a strong argument. The practical implication of this is that if anyone were to try to live an Atheistic worldview, they can’t claim that something is inherently evil. So, in reference to suffering and pain in the world, they would have to say that logically, the outflow of the Atheistic worldview is “So what… it doesn’t matter. We’re all a cosmic accident anyway. We evolved by chance. We’re all going to die and ultimately the universe is going to burn out, so whatever we do to one another and whatever happens here is all an incidental byproduct of chance, anyway. There is no right nor wrong. And when it comes to things like murder, rape, torture, and so on… that may not be your cup of tea, but you can’t say that it’s wrong for me.”

I don’t agree with this at all. Of course we matter. Of course what happens to people can be either right or wrong. Of course murder, rape and torture are morally wrong. Yet, the logical trajectory of Atheism denies all this. Ultimately, all that we have are preferences. No right or wrong. No good or evil. Just subjective preferences.

If Christianity has a “Problem of Evil”, Atheism has a “Denial of Evil”.

And the world’s leading consistent Atheists will say the same.

A former atheist who remained an atheist due mainly because of Christianity’s “Problem of Evil” was C.S. Lewis. But, when he thought more deeply, he realized that if there is no God, there is no evil, yet the fact that I know that there is evil tells me that there is something good. As Lewis said, “If all lines were crooked, how would you know what a straight line was?” Atheism simply cannot account for the ultimate moral standard or Moral Law Giver that transcends our preferences.

One other worldview is the Pantheistic view – the eastern view that says that everything is god.

So, Christianity’s Theistic view says there is a God and He is separate from us (holy); the Atheistic view says there is no God; and the Pantheistic view says that everything is god, and we are all part of god. The problem with this worldview is that ultimately, logically concluding, evil is part of God. So, they don’t have a “Problem with Evil” or a “Denial of Evil”… they have a “Deification of Evil”.

The most well-known example of this is the Force in the Star Wars movies. Within the Force is the dark side and the light side, and ultimately everything – both good and bad – are part of god. According to this worldview, the god that we humans attempt to worship is, himself, both good and evil. What makes that god worthy of worship?

When I look at these opposing worldviews, I quickly run back to Christian Theism and say, “I’d rather grapple with the problem of evil, because I think we have the best answer. I think it’s an answer that squares with what we know to be true within our human experience, our innate conscience, and the world we see around us.”

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