I’ll issue this challenge: reconcile the notion of an omnibenevolent god with the murder of children in the Bible (i.e. Exodus 12:29,30, Leviticus 26:21,22, Deuteronomy 21:18-21, etc.). A good god wouldn’t command the murder of children, promise to murder children and follow through on those promises. It’s okay if he’s just a character in literature, but it isn’t okay if anyone wants to believe that he exists.
Thanks for the question (or challenge).
What you’ve presented is also known as the logical argument from evil (often attributed to Epicurus, Hume, Mackie, etc). It goes like this.
1. God is all-powerful and all-loving.
2. An all-powerful and all-loving being would not allow the evil event E to happen.
3. E happened.
Conclusion: Therefore, God does not exist.
This is a straw man. That’s not the argument I presented. P2 is very different from what I said in my challenge. Your god commanded the murder of children, promised to murder children and carried out those promises. Commanding and promising are not synonymous to “[allowing] evil event E to happen”; it’s more like bringing evil event E into fruition. Regardless, the argument I made isn’t the argument from evil. It is a different argument. Again, reconcile the notion of an omnibenevolent god with the following atrocities:
- Genesis 7 (Note: it is safe to assume that there were children in this mythological world that was flooded by your god)
- Exodus 12:29,30
- Leviticus 26:21,22
- Deuteronomy 21:18-21
- 1 Samuel 15:3
- 2 Kings 2:23,24
- Isaiah 13:15,16
- Isaiah 14:21
- Ezekiel 9:5,6
- Daniel 6:24
- Hosea 9:11-16
- Hosea 13:16
You’re the second person to confuse my argument for the argument from the Problem of Evil. Again, this is a different argument.
There are two huge problems with this argument, one with its logic, and the other with its presupposition.
The problem with the logic is premise 2. An all-powerful God may have morally acceptable reasons that are not within the epistemic reach of finite minds, like the human mind, because an all-powerful God is also all-knowing while human beings are not. To reason from ‘I don’t see any morally acceptable reason for allowing E’ to ‘An all-knowing God cannot have any morally acceptable reason for allowing E’ is logically invalid. Ironically, in the process of disproving the existence of an all-knowing being, the person presenting the argument assumes that she is herself an all-knowing being.
You’re speaking of evil quite broadly. Notice, I mentioned evils imposed on innocent children and even infants! That is very different from allowing evil to fall upon them. I hope that by now you notice that your argument is a straw man. Furthermore, it’s a red herring. You are conveniently changing the subject because you think your usual apologetics has done well in refuting Epicurus. I would say otherwise, but that’s not what we’re discussing.
Not only that, there is a deeper presupposition here that defeats the argument from the start. Words like ‘good’, ‘okay’, ‘not okay’ are only meaningful given an objective standard to which all of us (theists and atheists) must be obligated to. As Friedrich Nietzsche has rightly pointed out, if an absolute moral lawgiver does not exist, moral terms are merely linguistic inventions. There is no metaphysical grounds for moral dialogue if atheism is true. In other words, in order for the logical argument from evil to be objectively meaningful, atheism must not be true. Those who understand the meaning of good and evil must assume the theistic worldview, not disprove it. Which is also why this is a self-defeating argument.
Another red herring. Now you’re alluding to the moral argument for god, which is defeated by education — a knowledge of history to be specific (see graphic). To put it simply, why did “commandments” similar to the ten commandments predate Judaism? — and by a lot I might add! Your god isn’t an absolute moral lawgiver. The innocent should never serve as a ransom for the guilty, but according to your god, that is moral; Christianity is founded on exactly that. It’s absolutely repulsive and it is no wonder people rejected Christianity until it converted people by force starting in the 4th century. If you think that any of this fallacious rhetoric justifies the senseless murder of children, you are an apologist for genocide; no worries though, you’re not alone as I have debated a few of them (you now included). There is, of course, a better option: Yahweh (the god of war or the god of armies) serves a literary purpose and historians teach us that. I am fine with Yahweh as a character, but I do not approve of a belief that attempts to make such a character a reality.
Given that the logical argument from evil is logically invalid and self-defeating, it’s very likely that those who insist on it are not doing so with their heads, but with their hearts.
Unfortunately, you refuted the wrong argument. You saw what you wanted to see in my argument rather than seeing what is actually there. Try again!
I welcome your follow-up.
Have fun licking your wounds.
Note: this is a reblog of sorts to his reply to my question (read here).