Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Problem of Good

Occasionally one encounters the notion that an atheist faces an equally difficult problem in explaining goodness. It is a foolish notion because the atheist has no need to explain either good or evil. Of course if one could muster up belief that God is supremely evil, then a problem of good might arise. It could be justified (as atheists sometimes do in jest) by asserting that all the good we experience is necessary to make possible greater pain. What better means could a Supreme Devil use for maximizing evil than allowing his creatures to enjoy life for a brief time, even to live with hope for another life, only to meet with final annihilation or perpetual torment in hell? But for the atheist or pantheist there is no problem of good or evil.-Martin Gardner

Now, what some theists mean when stating that the atheist faces a similar "problem of good" (as opposed to the Problem of Evil) is that in the godless universe of atheism, nothing can have any meaning. But it is only in a universe that is the product of a consciousness that this would be so, for then you could never rely on your senses, you could never be sure this god wasn't deceiving you or controlling your thoughts. Nothing could be determined with any certainty in such a world, including the nature of God itself, for it might be lying to you.

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