Free will as endowed by an omnipotent being is illogical. However, monotheists like Christians and Muslims don’t fully understand logic, so they continue to argue that free will justifies the unfairness and suffering we find in our world.
God, free will and power…
If your god has ‘all power’ and/or ‘omnipotence’, it is therefore logically impossible for it to give away any of that power and remain omnipotent. To the best of my understanding, an omnipotent god cannot share a reality with other potent beings (beings who can choose freely). Omniscience is also a subset of omnipotence, as the power to do all things contains the power to know all things.
Can you ever do a thing that God doesn’t allow?
If a sentient being can make a decision independent of his creator, then the being is, by definition, somewhat autonomous. If a being can really be autonomous, then he can possibly surprise or otherwise disrupt the plans or will of his master. If God can do absolutely anything, then he cannot possibly be surprised, interrupted, overpowered or otherwise made to do anything he doesn’t want to do. So the idea that a god could dislike or fight evil (or fight anything) is impossible. All events in the universe must therefore be part of or subject to the omnipotent creator’s will and wishes. Every rape, every murder, every stoning and every disease are all part of his plan, all approved by and enjoyed by the god who cannot be forced to do anything he doesn’t want to do. If there is an omnipotent god, then every evil act is just God doing evil to himself for personal amusement.
Monotheist v.s. an Atheist:
Monotheist: But God loved us so much that he suffers for us, he willingly suffers
Atheist: Why would god suffer for human pain and disease if he could bypass mortality and create man in paradise?
Monotheist: Because he wants to give us free will to choose violence and evil for ourselves.
Atheist: He knows what we will choose, therefore he could stop us anytime. If God knows the script, it’s as if he wrote it, we can’t deviate from it, therefore our actions are not our own, we would be puppets.
Monotheist: No, because God gives us the choice to choose him on our own, and then let’s us into heaven because of that choice.
Atheist: But, I don’t believe in him, so how can I choose?
Monotheist: Everybody believes in him! / You’re in denial! / You’ll get the chance to choose after you’re dead! / Just use Pascal’s wager!
Atheist: I can’t actually live by Pascal’s wager if I don’t believe in it.
Monotheist: Yes, you can, you have no choice, don’t gamble. You’ll be sorry if you take the chance. After all, if you reject God, he will punish you for eternity.
Atheist: I must choose option 1: worship God for eternity, or option 2: suffer for eternity. I’m incapable of choosing option 2 because the perfect torture for eternity is in fact perfectly horrible. Lesser torture would be to worship a God I don’t respect. Both are torture! Option 1 is impossible to turn down. Looks like there’s no free will after all.
Darwin Pillows – click to view in store
The problem of evil vaporizes any possible argument for a God who is both omnipotent and benevolent. Namely, if suffering is real, then the supreme being must be the author and master of such evil.
last updated 2015/8/05
The Problem of Evil – Epicurus (341- 270 b.c.):
“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?”
If you’re hearing this argument for the first time and you’re a monotheist, then you must at least concede that your god is both good and evil. That God is the arbiter of all pain, pleasure and suffering. The master of the world’s suffering can not be called ‘good‘ or ‘just‘ by any thinking person. God in the Bible is vengeful, full of wrath, jealous and capricious; many Christians agree.
Even the Christian Bible calls its god the author of evil:
Bible: Isaiah 45:7 (KJV) – “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.”
Bible: Amos 3:6 (KJV) – “Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?” (see biblegateway.com)
We have never been able to verify the use of prayer or conscious thought to influence the laws or properties of nature. Similarly, no one has ever been proven to use prayer, conscious thought or wishful thinking to persuade a god to bend the laws of nature in favor of themselves. So it stands to reason that until someone can demonstrate a god having broken the laws of nature, laws he supposedly dictate, then there is no reason to believe.
Remember, evidence is not personal or emotional. Evidence is testable, demonstrable and repeatable. That’s how science is done, and that’s why most serious scientists are atheists.
“…church collapses. Did you see the one in Sicily recently? The facade fell on 65 grandmothers at a special Mass. Was that evil? Was that God? If He’s up there, He just loves it. Typhoid and swans–it all comes from the same place.”
Now, more evil brought to you by Yahweh, Allah or whoever:
Again, whenever I use the word ‘evil’, I use it in the colloquial sense, not the metaphysical or theological way.
merchandise from God’s Autopsy
Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson’s thought experiment gone wrong.
Phil Robertson is probably not as insane as he sounds in the video below, just a bad philosopher perhaps. At a prayer breakfast in Florida, Phil attempts a reductio ad absurdum argument for the immorality of secularism and atheism. He wants to say that an atheist can’t logically possess morals because the atheist has no objective moral standard to base them on (as provided in the Bible). Yet, Phil’s straw atheist family couldn’t plausibly exist, if they did, they most likely wouldn’t have survived long enough for Phil’s invaders to break into their home and commit these crimes (if you cared about absolutely nothing, you’d routinely walk into streets, never checking for traffic). You see, if the atheist parents didn’t care about life and well-being, they wouldn’t have bothered getting married in the first place, and they wouldn’t have ever bothered feeding or raising their children.
It seems that Phil is being intellectually dishonest; he can’t imagine morality without a god, so somehow no one else can possess morality without his god having authored it (where’s the free will in this model?). Is he saying that all atheists are either lying about their non-belief or lying to themselves? I wouldn’t be surprised. I’ve heard this argument before: the argument that morality and the feeling of a spiritual presence is apparent to us all. It’s the assumption there’s a god-shaped hole carved into all our hearts. If this were true, that we just know right from wrong, how would you explain the world’s extant contradictory religions with contradicting moral codes?
See Phil’s clip below:
Phil Robertson: “Maybe if you just buy enough healthcare insurance, that’a keep you out of the ground. I don’t think so… save you money… You got a six-foot hole waiting on you if you have all the healthcare you can buy. You say, ‘is it going to keep me out of the ground?’ No sir. It’s a problem, and you know something, you can’t solve it.
“Just like you can’t see in your sin problem. Oh, I-I mean, I don’t know, this conscience thing. I mean, we just dreamed it up! There’s no right, there’s no wrong. There’s no good, there’s no evil. I’ll make a bet with you. Two guys break into an atheist’s home. He has a little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters. Two guys break into his home and tie him up in a chair and gag him. And then they take his two daughters in front of him and rape both of them and then shoot them. And they take his wife and they decapitate her head off in front of him. And then they can look at him and say, ‘Isn’t it great that I don’t have to worry about being judged? Isn’t it great that there’s nothing wrong with this?! There’s no right or wrong, now is it, dude?’ Then you take a sharp knife and take his manhood and hold it in front of him, say, ‘wouldn’t it be something if this was something wrong with this? But, you’re the one who says there’s no God, there’s no right, there’s no wrong. So, we’re just having fun! We’re sick in the head! Have a nice day.’
“If it happened to them, they probably would say, ‘something about this just ain’t right.'”
What Christians don’t understand is that the Universe doesn’t need purpose, it doesn’t need objective rights, wrongs or moral standards to exist. The Universe exists simply because it can. If objects, animals and humans exist, we can still have laws and morals constructed by society to keep us in line. Secular Humanists such as myself base our morals on what contributes to human well-being. The Bible, however, is a terrible source for morals, and is in no way a source for objective moral standards.
A reductio is only valid when it’s logically possible.