Even though it is tempting to vigorously respond to Irwin Jeffrey`s Dec. 30, 2015 explanation of God`s existence, but apparent absence, over all these countless centuries of pain as “He reveals in concealing” (darkly hilarious), and “the problem of evil logically entails His existence” (absurd), it might be more constructive to respond in kind, with additional humour.
As for expecting atheists to disprove God’s existence: you can’t disprove a negative. You cannot prove that the universe was not created at 8 p.m. last Thursday, complete with fossils, old newspapers, and all of your own memories intact.
I defy you to prove that there isn’t a tiny porcelain teapot orbiting the planet Saturn, that it governs all our activities, and that it deserves our reverence.
Can’t prove there isn’t one? “Well, then,” says Mr. Jeffrey’s logic, “there must be a teapot, and those who don’t believe it are fools!”
Extraordinary claims (e.g. there is a supernatural God) require extraordinary evidence, and the burden of proof is on the one who makes the claim, not on the ones who doubt it.
As for atheism as a “faith,” atheists are not “avowed” as Mr. Jeffrey says. Someone’s not an atheist because they pretend to know there is no God; they’re an atheist because they don’t pretend to know that there is one.
Faith is not a virtue. You need faith to believe something that is probably not true. There have been about 2,500 gods that humans used to believe in before science started being able to explain things like earthquakes and lightning, and most people are now atheistic with regard to those gods. The people you call atheists simply go one god further.
Atheism is a term that should not even exist – no one ever needs to identify him or herself as a “non-astrologer,” or a “non-alchemist”.
There are people who study fairies, and call it ‘Fairyology’. It doesn’t mean that there are fairies. And so it is with theology. Atheism is nothing more than the noises that reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.
But to return to the problem of evil that Mr. Jeffrey says endangers “nothing short of the goodness of God.”
It would be far easier to make a logical case for the existence of an infinitely cruel God, when you consider the vastness of the supposedly fine-tuned universe created in order to destroy, in unimaginable suffering, 99.99 per cent of the species of life on our tiny struggling planet over 4.5 billion years, just to test our belief in him and then punish us each forever if we fail. As for faith being rewarded, I can’t see why we should expect an infinite God to do any better in another world than he does in this one.
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 why is there evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
Epicurus (d. 270 BC)