HANDBOOK OF CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS ON PROBLEM OF EVIL
 
The sixth chapter of the Handbook of Christian Apologetics proposes a solution to the problem of evil.

 

First of all it spells out three different arguments against God from the existence of evil.

 

The first says that any evil refutes a good God which assumes that evil is a thing and God must have evilly made it.

 

The second says that needless evil proves there is no God.

 

The third says that bad things happening to good people refutes God. Atheism affirms all three.
 
The view of Augustine that evil is not a thing is defended. It says that evil is just a perverted good. But perversion has to be as real as good for good to be perverted. If you see evil as a bad equation like 2+2=3 and all evils are bad equations for they make good add up to less good then you see evil as a real thing for 2+2=4 is as real an equation as the first though it is right and the first wrong. Fear is always an evil thing in itself even when it leads to good for the good is not a part of the fear but a result. Fear is not simply a good thing that has fallen short. There is nothing good in it by itself. The Handbook says that if Augustine could be refuted then the argument that all evil proves there is no God works for it would mean that God did create evil. At least if you say evil is an absence of good then you can say God did not create it but created good only. So if evil is real then there is no God! Hear hear! The reason God cannot make what is evil when evil is not just a falling short and cannot make it even for a good purpose is because it is wholly useless by definition. What is fully evil is fully useless. What is partly evil is partly useless. Evil in so far as it is evil is totally useless. If evil is part of some good it should not be there and is still fully useless.


Suffering is a thing. It is total madness to say that suffering is the mere absence of wellbeing. The defence then must deny that suffering is really evil. That to any sane person proves that the defence and the belief in God it requires are themselves evil. If suffering is not evil then nothing is evil and it is as good to be bad as it is to be good!

If good is the natural state and we wreck it not God then that is where free will comes in.  The book gives this equation for free will: Heredity + Environment + Free Will = Action (page 137). I am glad it does that because this admits that the three forces together produce the act. So heredity and environment influence the actions we produce. Then why didn’t God make an effort to have stronger influences towards good? Heredity determines or forces certain influences on us so why are there people who hereditarily have bad inclinations? This observation is fatal to belief in God. Free will is presented in this book as a solution to the problem of evil but it isn’t even relevant. It is the evil impulse in us that influences free will that is the problem. The authors deliberately try to deflect us from this and they wave free will in front of us for the purpose of misdirection. Even if we are conditioned by heredity and the environment we grew up in and which shaped us to choose coke instead of orange juice and this conditioning does not determine or fix my choice but I can resist it the problem of bad influences inside us and being allowed to thrive is still there.

Page 138 as good as tells us that drunk people and insane people are not human beings but animals or machines for they have no free will! Nobody should get away with saying things like that in these politically correct times. That is saying that you should not be respected unless you are normal but it is obvious that insane people for example should be treated with dignity.
 
The problem with a good God allowing evil to happen is that evil is by definition that which should not be. If the defence explains how God can let evil happen then it is saying that evil being misplaced good is perfectly acceptable to God. Otherwise there is no point to the argument. So God is evil after all!
 

The book says that nobody has the right to say there is too much evil. In other words, was a holocaust that saw six million tortured and killed too much or would one that killed six thousand still be too much? Few would argue with me that things don’t have to be as bad as the six million being barbarously tortured and killed and that their reply is callous and shows that belief in God is a curse. Not knowing where to draw the line is not the point.  We have the right to decide where the line should be drawn.  We would not draw it where God draws it by the looks of things.  We have that right for God cannot feel the pain that comes when our loved ones suffer but we can.  And if God chooses the line that does not mean he must not allow us our opinion that he is wrong.  To say we don't have the right to say there is too much evil means we should affirm it if the entire creation suffers barring maybe one creature for a mere second.

 

The fact that the vast majority of us never get the chance to be as evil as the monsters who liquidated millions is clear proof that there is too much suffering allowed.

 

Notice too that if you say that God is right to allow things like the Nazi Holocaust with its appalling evil because there is nowhere to draw the line then you are saying that God does not know if it is right to let man be that free and still he does it. This is not the behaviour of a good God. A good God would not take the risk of letting us go that far. We have a right to know why he lets it go that far for it is me or you who could suffer because of it. To say as Christians do that we do not have this right is to say that the thing I am most sure of my own existence and how it is treated (by God and by implication by humankind too) is none of my business and that is fanaticism for I am less sure there is a God and that he can be trusted than I am that I exist. All evil breeds evil so too much evil breeds too much and God cannot allow it. The reply the book gives to the third problem is that it is solved by the mysteries of original sin (the idea that Adam our first father sinned on our behalf in the garden of Eden and so his sin was passed on to us all at conception meaning we were sinners from the first moment we existed – so Adam sinned for us in our place) and the atonement of Jesus meaning that they show that the innocent can vicariously suffer to help the guilty. This is claptrap for X to suffer for Y is simply not fair. It is unfair to offer mysteries that make no sense to solve concrete problems. Those who believe in a good God believe that he does not want to be offered sufferings or sacrifices but just wants all to be happy.

So far we have shown that evil being not real, and excessive evil show there is no God. What about the third one that says good people should not be allowed to suffer by God?  The book says we are assuming goodness and kindness are the same thing.

Page 139 divorces goodness from kindness. Kindness is defined as lovingly wanting to free somebody from pain. It says that goodness is sometimes not to be kind. The idea is that if you have to hurt somebody to help them that is goodness but not kindness. This is shocking logic. Surgeons for example hurt people to free them from pain so it is kindness. All helping of others is kindness. Kindness and goodness are one and the same. Then it says that God is good but not always kind which is why he allows evil to happen. Then it says that if God were kind to us he would deliver us from all pain but that would be worthy of condemnation because it would be the same as kindly parents doing their children’s homework f

 

or them. But parents doing that is bad because the children won’t learn to get through life because there is no easy way through life for most. So its not kind. If you had an all-powerful father or mother with magic powers they could spoil you completely for then you will have a smooth journey through life. There would be nothing wrong with that for we only condemn spoiling because life is tough and spoiled children only make it worse for themselves and others. If life were easy and better there would be no difficulty. To say that God lets us stand on our own for our own good is to deny his power.


Insult after insult is heaped on the suffering of the world just to keep God’s reputation clean. It is those who profess to be the fans of God who are really being served by this.

 

Page 127 admits that love the sinner but hate the sin is hypocrisy but says that that is why Jesus had to die for our sins so that we would get the mercy from God and him the justice so that it would be possible for us to love the sinner and hate the sin. So we are to love the sinner and the sin is hated and separated from the sinner and Jesus takes the blame for it and the punishment. Nothing could be more absurd than any of this and even many Catholic theologians would laugh their heads off at the suggestion. If the sin is separated from the sinner then the sinner is not a sinner anymore.
 
What about sinners who haven’t repented and asked for God’s forgiveness? Their sin hasn’t transferred to Christ yet. Are we to hate them? We must.  The failure of love the sinner and hate the sin means that God must hate so God is not good after all.

The Handbook is insulting and shows that attempts to save God from the charge of tyranny don’t work. Those who defend tyrants are tyrants themselves.  

 

They might charm people but that is because they don't have the guts to live up to the inherent evil of their beliefs.