Atheists have a problem equivalent to the problem of evil

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Atheists have a problem equivalent to the problem of evil

Postby DallasHeathen » Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:48 pm

Randal Rauser is an apologist at the Christian Post, and he has The Tentative Apologist blog/column. Recently he shocked me with this gem.

After fretting about the Haiti earthquake and the problem of evil for theists, he says this:

As I put it, the notion that God oversees natural and moral horrors should disturb the Christian. But the idea that there is no such thing as an objective natural or moral horror to begin with should equally disturb the atheist.

And yet this is what atheists commonly hold. The fact is that according to a naturalistic worldview, there is no objective difference between an earthmover crushing an ant hill to make way for a new housing development and the plates of the earth shifting in the Caribbean resulting in the death of tens of thousands of human beings.


Where do they come up with this stuff?
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Postby cdo » Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:33 pm

The fact is that according to a naturalistic worldview, there is no objective difference between an earthmover crushing an ant hill to make way for a new housing development and the plates of the earth shifting in the Caribbean resulting in the death of tens of thousands of human beings.


what is really sad is he must admit that the response from his god is exactly the same in both cases--Nothing.

the atheist, because he does not define natural events as being supernatural temper tantrums, can actually DO something about these events. the atheist can decide not to rebuild on a known fault line. Or he can rebuild with better design and materials that are more able to withstand tectonic movement. The atheist can LEARN and ADAPT from his experiences. The religious response is to try harder not to piss their gods off.

what a bunch of loonies.
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Postby Mythman » Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:58 am

Actually, according to a naturalistic worldview, there is a difference in that the earthmover is sentient and doesn't give a damn.

From a supernaturalistic worldview, there really isn't a difference because in both instances there is a sentient being that could intervene but doesn't.

Thus, Rauser's god has no more sympathy for us than we have for ants. QED.
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Postby DallasHeathen » Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:32 am

What I'm shocked by are these two points:

a) he equates that atheists should be disturbed, to the problem of evil for a theist. The problem of evil is much deeper than whether it disturbs the theist's psyche. It's not that atheists point to the problem of evil just because we like to laugh at theists who are struggling with cognitive dissonance. The problem of evil is an objection to their idea that god is omnipotent and benevolent - it's a practical disproof of their idea of their god.

and b) that the thinks the idea that there's NOT a supreme entity to grant "objective horror" status to bad events, should even bother an atheist. It's like he can't even pretend to look at something from another person's viewpoint to imagine what they might feel.
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Postby 7od » Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:07 pm

DallasHeathen wrote:b) that the thinks the idea that there's NOT a supreme entity to grant "objective horror" status to bad events, should even bother an atheist. It's like he can't even pretend to look at something from another person's viewpoint to imagine what they might feel.


i think you are exactly right. i think most theists are unable to ACTUALLY shed their own point of view for even a moment. that when they attempt to step into someone else's shoes, they're still wearing jesus' sandles.

i think this is why satan, and the concept of evil are such an incredibly useful invention for christianity. anytime someone is opposed to your view, you have a ready made answer for their motivations. they are either evil themselves, or are being tricked by satan. you don't need to consider someone elses point of view, you already know what it is and why they have it.
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Re: Atheists have a problem equivalent to the problem of evi

Postby donnyton » Fri Feb 12, 2010 5:54 am

And yet this is what atheists commonly hold. The fact is that according to a naturalistic worldview, there is no objective difference between an earthmover crushing an ant hill to make way for a new housing development and the plates of the earth shifting in the Caribbean resulting in the death of tens of thousands of human beings.


He's not only wrong, he's stupid.

There is an OBJECTIVE difference. There's not necessarily, however, a SUBJECTIVE difference. A hippie environmentalist might genuinely be opposed to earthmovers making room for housing development, while a realtor may support it.

In the Christian worldview, there's no real objective difference. Both are just the result of a timeline God has already defined. But there's a subjective difference because he thinks humans were created special and deserve to live more.
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Postby Eon » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:32 pm

This isn't a new apologetic. It's just the same old "without God there is no objective standard of right and wrong/good and bad" argument from morality re-applied to a current event. Apologists do this all the time. Rauser's problem (and the problem of every single theist who uses this argument) is that they are incapable of understanding how a system of morality that doesn't rely on the existence of a omnipotent dictator can work.
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Postby Infidel » Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:02 am

There's no objective difference between crushing ants and crushing humans? Your theist friend needs to consult a dictionary, because there is no *objective* equality between the two at all.

The question is whether or not there is a *subjective* difference, and the obvious answer is "yes". If your friend can't see any subjective difference, then he's a sociopath.
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