The most widely seen “This is why I’m an Atheist” post to float around the internet is this very popular quote:
The answer to the question should instead be “Because it is logical.” And… the hard part… then you should be able to tell them WHY it’s logical.
Here’s the classic way to abuse the A=B=C=D logic track:
God Is Love
Love is Blind
Stevie Wonder is Blind
Stevie Wonder is God
Have you all said a prayer to Stevie yet? No, of course not. I’ll trust we don’t have to dissect that one.
So let’s look at these lines from the Epicurus argument.
- Is God willing to prevent Evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Omnipotent: Having unlimited power; able to do anything.Ok, so, the first line states that if God wanted to do something but wasn’t able to, he wouldn’t be this all-powerful God fellow we all know and love.
This line actually makes sense. We can agree with it. That is logical.
Side note: Humans defining omnipotence is murky at best. Understand that since God can’t be limited, there are things he can’t (or won’t) do, such as: Limit himself, contradict himself, do evil, etc.
- Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent
In order to get to the bottom of this, we have to look at who God is. As Christians, we believe God to be Loving. We believe God IS Love. So what does that mean?
Love has to be unconditional. “I’ll love you if ____” is not love. Speaking as a son who has undoubtedly (maybe once or twice) ticked off my parents, they don’t stop loving me when they’re mad at me. That means, and here’s the hard part – if you love someone, you love them even if they don’t love you. Even if they tick you off. That’s the hardest part of Christian love.
Love also has to be freely given. A number of movies in cinema can show that the disgruntled villain shouting at the woman “YOU WILL LOVE ME OR ELSE” is not exactly up there with movies such as The Notebook.
So when God created man, he created them with the option of being able to choose to not love Him (That’s what Hell is for). If God made people Love him, that’s not real love, is it? “Well if God knows everything, he must know some people will choose not to love him. Why would God still create those people?” This is a very good question. However, if God created man with the ability of free-will, yet did not create those who he knew would not choose him, then it’s really not free will if anybody who would have chosen against him was simply not created.
This is also a good time to point out the fact that Hell is an act of Love. Hell isn’t a place where God sends people kicking and screaming with them begging to stay and love Him. If God is indeed loving, he has to be accepting of the fact that some may choose to not be with him. Hell is absence of God. If somebody truly does not want to be with God, Heaven would not be an act of love. It would be God forcing them to be with him. There’s no free will there. Hell must exist in order for free will to exist.
God is able to prevent evil. God wills good. But God will never override free will in order to get what he wants. He is benevolent, not malevolent. God is indeed willing to prevent evil; yet it exists because we are not, and because he won’t force us to.
- Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
- Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God.
And to tie this all up, I’ll leave you with the words of St. Thomas Aquinas. When his sister asked him “How can I become a saint?” he responded with two simple words: “Will it.”