That made you sit up and take notice didn’t it? The statement is as silly as the statements made on religious websites and on YouTube videos that they have ‘absolute proof that God exists’ Invariably of course, the arguments put forward by the writers simply aren’t arguments at all in the usual sense of the word or use some combination of circular logic to achieve the aims of the authors.
I doubt that there is an atheist that would make a similar statement in reverse, ie: ‘god does not exist‘ but they are usually more likely to make a statement like ‘I see no evidence whatsoever for the existence of a god or gods’. This is just common sense – just as making a statement like ‘gravity always works’ is also a little ridiculous – just because we have always experienced gravity working doesn’t necessarily mean it will always be so. We may be 99.999 (plus a few thousand 9′s) sure but we don’t say always.
But… for the religious believers out there who must always think in terms of absolute truths or absolute falsehoods (not that there are such things except possibly the ridiculousness of some of their ‘arguments’) – here’s a perfectly logical and iron-clad (to use the writer’s term) argument that ‘proves’ a god cannot exist:
Assumption (1): God exists.
Assumption (1a): God is all-knowing.
Assumption (1b): God is all-powerful.
Assumption (1c): God is perfectly loving.
Assumption (1d): Any being that did not possess all three of the above properties would not be God.
Premise (2): Evil exists.
Premise (3): An all-knowing being would be aware of the existence of evil.
Premise (4): An all-powerful being would be able to eliminate evil.
Premise (5): A perfectly loving being would desire to eliminate evil.
Conclusion (6): Evil does not exist. (from (1),(3),(4),(5))
Contradiction: But evil does exist. (from (2))
Conclusion (7): There is no being that is all-knowing, all-powerful, and perfectly loving. (from (2),(3),(4),(5))
Conclusion (8): God does not exist. (from (7),(1d))
Now, there are certainly many theodicies (an assertion that God has a reason for causing or allowing evil that is compatible with his perfectly loving nature) available for the believers to try to use to refute the argument, but the only one that I can see that comes even close is this one:
“God has a purpose for allowing suffering, but we do not know what that purpose is.”
I cannot do better to answer this than to quote the author of the essay that I have taken my inspiration for this post from: “Though many who use this defense may not realize it, the unknown purpose theodicy effectively amounts to abandoning the claim of God’s goodness. After all, if God allows evil for reasons unknown to us, then what grounds do theists have for judging him to be morally good? Making that determination requires at least some understanding of motive and intent. If we have no idea at all why God does what he does, if the reasons for his actions are incomprehensible to us, then to be consistent we would have to say that we do not know whether he is good or evil. Certainly there is no obvious reason why disasters happen as they do, so how could any theist know that the true reason, whatever it is, is for the better and not for the worse?”
The reality, for me, is that we live precariously on a planet that is continually rocked by completely natural and man-made events that impact upon our lives. Evil people do evil things to others for various reasons including mental problems but often just because they are bad people. Earthquakes, tsunamis and floods occur for perfectly natural reasons. No one is ‘out to get us’ or ‘punish us for our sins’ – they just happen. Because of scientific research over the centuries we know how they occur, but humans just have to have a ‘why’ to go along with the ‘hows’. We refuse to just accept that shit happens sometimes and make the best of it – find methods to reduce the impact of the events when they occur – and then get on with living your lives!
There will never be proof of the god concept either way – the evidence against the existence of any god far outweighs any evidence that there may be one (or more) – but as rational human beings who have evolved into the fantastic (and fantastically flawed) creatures that we are, there are far more important questions to be answered than this one. Free thinkers will eventually outnumber the supernatural believers one day.
Maybe not in our lifetime or that of our children, but one day…
Source: Ideas and quotes taken from Ebon Musings. From an essay entitled : All Possible Worlds – The problem of Evil.