Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Problem of Evil and the Problem of Hell

Ah, the problem of evil. One of my personal favorite topics of religion. This clip discusses an e-mail that a theist sent in to the show to provide an answer for the problem. For those too lazy to click the link and read the wikipedia article, the problem can be summarized as this: if God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent, then why does evil exist in this world? During my studies I learned of a wonderful philosopher of ancient Greece, Epicurus (341 BCE - 270 BCE). Epicurus presented the following conjecture.

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”

I won't comment too much on this clip because I think it pretty much speaks for itself. One of the arguments rhat the theist presents is that God asks us to bear suffering in our lives but the eternity we will spend in heaven (or hell) makes up for it. Don, the guy to the left, then brings up an excellent point. "Isn't that what they told the 9/11 attackers?" Exactly. These terrorists were so convinced of the prospect of this superior afterlife that they were totally willing to end their mortal lives, as well as the lives of thousands of innocents along with them. This is why strong beliefs in unverified theological propositions is dangerous to the believer and dangerous to others. Don't even try and say that its just Muslims either. Christianity has the blood of millions of innocent people on its hands as well, and I imagine many other religions share the same guilt.

Another problem related to the problem of evil is the problem of hell. I like this argument even better. It is very similar to the problem of evil: if God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent, why does hell exist? Why did He decide to create hell and to send souls there? Is the idea of hell compatible with a creator that is omnibenevolent? I certainly think it is not. I reject God's omnibenevolence outright. The reason being is the problem of evil, the problem of hell, and all of the atrocious and immoral acts that God commits Himself in the bible, asks others to perform for him in the bible, and such actions of others that he condones in the bible. If God does exist, he is not omnibenevolent. I perceive the Christian God to be much more evil than good. Same with the Jewish God (Yahweh) and the Muslim God (Allah). Sorry other religions, I don't know enough about your god/gods to provide my own opinion on whether or not they are good or evil beings.

I had some interesting discussions with my religious friend about heaven and hell during one of our meetings (this was before our falling out of course). In fact, I think that I will share those in my next post.

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