“The Problem of Evil (or the Argument from Evil) argues that an almighty creator-god, capable of creating or destroying anything and even capable of suspending or re-writing the laws of nature, such as is envisaged by most of the major world religions, should easily be powerful enough to alleviate all needless suffering in the world, to provide adequate resources for everyone, to prevent the occurrence of fatal or debilitating diseases or birth defects and to prevent all manner of destructive natural disasters. Indeed, an infinitely benevolent and loving god, of the kind envisioned by Christianity, Judaism and Islam, should make such actions his first priority. And yet what we see in the world is very different from that picture – proof positive that there is no such god in existence.”
REPLY: In reply to this argument, the website offers what they call ad hoc replies by some theists, which, of course, is not any kind of counter argument or reply at all. The closest they come to giving a substantive theist reply is in relation to (1) man’s free will (though this is summarily dismissed by speaking of natural evils, or disasters), and (2) since evil can’t be precisely identified, it is nevertheless the case that God (if there is one) should act in such a way to eliminate evil. Atheism can’t account for man’s free will; in fact, an atheist is a materialist, and a mechanical (man is a machine) one at that. Also, since atheist can’t identify evil, their argument structure is made up of hot air, upon which nothing is able to rest.
Note this remark: “There is no fixed and unchanging Platonic form or essence of evil. Like good, evil is merely a human construct, and to call something ‘evil’ does not lead us to a greater understanding of evil behaviour.”
If “good” or “evil” is a human construct, then there is no such thing as an actual good or evil, except as a human being so identifies (constructs) it. Thus, to identify an “evil” from the atheistic vantage point is clearly arbitrary (as is the word “good”)! Consequently, the counter argument against God’s existence goes nowhere because “evil,” as defined/identified by an atheist is “begging the question”!
A second reply is related to moral obligation. “…if God is ‘good’ in the same way that [he] expects us to be ‘good’, then he should act to prevent such calamities…”. Moral obligation does not and cannot prevail in atheism. Moral obligation within atheism is inherently a choice based on one’s desires (related to hedonism); there is no objective or transcendent obligation placed on humanity, not even a little bit! Choices, then, are between options, and no option is necessarily good or bad, right or wrong. Atheists, however, want us to accept the premise of their argument along this line, and it is not to be granted. As soon as they attribute to God a moral obligation, they need to give the basis for that moral obligation. They can’t.
According to atheistic philosophy, the following remark is the foundation: “In the atheist hypothesis, on the other hand, there is no expectation that the world should be a good place, or that evil should not exist.” Judges 17:6 reads, “There was no king in Israel at that time; everyone did whatever they wanted” (GNB). An atheist would simply re-word the passage to read this way: “There is no god in this world; so everyone can do what they want – since there is no real wrong or evil in this world, neither is there a real right or good in this world.”