Topic: God

Camp: Agreement / Atheist / Atheist Hope

Camp Statement

Atheist Hope
For as long as there has been a belief in a powerful and good God, intelligent people have recognized a 'Problem of Evil'. We think the 18th century philosopher David Hume said it best when he quoted the 3rd century BC Greek philosopher Epicurus:
"Epicurus's old questions are yet unanswered. Is he [1] willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?" [2]
Most theodicys that try to intelligently make sense of this problem try to twist things to justify evil in some way. In general most seem to be loath to give up something like God being very powerful and/or very good towards such ends. For some reason they chose to place the blame elsewhere. A very popular example is the 'free will' argument. It believes that God 'could' eliminate evil but he would have to take away free will which would be worse. But of course the obvious implication is that instead of God being evil, 'free will' is evil. This results in the absurd assertion that we are all 'choosing' all this 'bad stuff' which is by definition that which we do not want. For people of true faith and hope, blaming evil on something as glorious as free will is worse than saying God himself is evil.
Another faithless implication of belief in any such Good and powerful God, regardless of which theodicy you use to try to justify evil, is that even if we become as powerful as that God is, then for the same reasons this God was unable to overcome such, how could we hope to do any better? In fact, we are already doing far better than "Laying on of Hands", "priesthood power", and all other primitive so called "Godly Powers". We believe there are more real life giving miracles that reliably occur in a single day in a single large modern hospital than primitive beings like Jesus allegedly performed during their entire lives. 100 years ago, with only priesthood power, diabetics just died. Today, with a true miracle like insulin, they live near normal lives.
Some people "turn away from God" or become atheists because of all the evil that God allows to happen to them or their loved ones. Many people think Atheists are mad at God for such. We have no such anger and simply have faith and hope that we will continue to do, at an at least exponentially improving rate far better than God has ever done in the past with all things.
Some people argue that "Gods ways are not Man's ways" implying that if God is hiding from us, there is some reasons known to God, even if it is unknowable to us, to justify such evil. We see at least two critical flaws with this line of reasoning. First, we believe that there are some things (not vary many) that are absolutely moral. Absolutely obvious things like survival is better than dying, and hiding from someone is evil, compared to being with them and helping them. Sure, you can come up with extremely complex and contrived situations or universes where greater good can be used to justify such evil and the like. But, even in these situations, and in all possible situations, evils like hiding from someone, or dying instead of living, are always evil when taken separately. We challenge anyone to come up with some possible world where something like hiding or dying is truly a good things all by itself. We don't believe it can be done adequately to justify such absolute in all possible worlds evil.
Secondly, if you operate by this line of thinking, there is no possible way to distinguish from some devilish organization that justifies or faithlessly accepts any evil, including hiding, and a good and glorious institution that is not tolerant of such and has faith and hope that all such can be overcome. As soon as you accept this idea, you can no longer make such claims as 'by their fruits ye shall know them'. for any evil being done, or accepted by any such institution, can use such an argument to justify their evil or faithless ways.
Where so many people think the best thing to do is to try to justify and accept evil, instead we believe it is far better to hope that evil isn't all that hard to overcome, and that indeed we are about to overcome the big ones like isolation and death ' long before we become anywhere near as powerful and good as such a being. We have noticed that in fact, it is the Theist that lacks true faith and hope. It is only that atheist, that can truly 'hope' there is not yet a God while there is evil ' and that soon much evil will be completely overcome forever more and for all beings.
For more information see the paper entitled 'Transhumanist, God, and the problem of Evil' available at http://home.comcast.net/~brent.allsop
[3] Hume, D (1770) Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, 134

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Current Topic Record:

Topic Name : God
Name Space : General

Current Camp Record:

Camp Name : Atheist Hope
Keywords : hope
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