this is why i am an atheist. long ago a friend died, and i had to try figure out why. i was still a mild believer. my grandma had repeatedly fed me the mantra, god is love. so why wud a just, benevolent god, who is love, create this world, filled as it is with evil? thats my question.

nother query. how many of you were turned to atheism by this?

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heh heh. it isnt me its the one finger i type wif.

anyone want to say sumpin about the prob of evil?

Carl, you became atheist because of the problem of evil, but, unfirtunately, atheism also does not have any answer to evil. Nature makes evil men and it will continue to make them. This of course does not mean that you should not have become an atheist. What I mean is that evil is going to be with us for all the time to come.

Madhukar, I disagree. Atheism does have an answer to the problem of evil. First of all, because we simply do not believe in evil. There is good and bad, but evil means some purely malevolent force of nature which does not exist. Nature is neither malevolent nor benevolent, it simply exists. And secondly, the problem of evil is only a problem for the religious because they claim that the universe itself is "good", because it is made by a good creator. The universe just exists, it is neither good nor evil, and so when you take out the creator/deity, you lose the problem of evil entirely.

Do you not believe that there are evil, wicked people on earth? Do you think that only religion makes people wicked? Earth is full of villainous people, our wishful thinking will not make them go. They are nature's creations and nature will keep making them. I do not believe that every person is inherently good, though most are good.

No. There are some very, very bad people to be sure, but to use the word evil means something that you might not be aware of. It means that there is some natural source of badness, as if it were a force of nature. Conversely, you also have a force of pure goodness as well, so that you can make nice and clear, black and white distinctions between "us", the good guys (whatever religion is in question), and "them", the bad guys (whoever is not from our religion). But obviously there is no such clear distinction is nature. You have to think clearly about what you mean by words such as "good" and "bad" to understand, among many other things, that there is good and bad inside each and every one of us. I suggest you do not think about any single person as being purely bad, and certainly not evil, because dismissing a person as such only means that you are shutting yourself off to all the good that may be inside them, that you do not care what their motivations or their history might be, and that only makes you a less forgiving and less understanding person.

 

I think that people are in general neither good nor bad. They often turn out pretty good, but they just as often turn out pretty bad. Using words like "evil" just muddies the waters.

mebe its ourjudeochristmudlemo world, which says that god is good,and evil is what is opposed to god.

madhukar is from another culture, so he has a dif take on this. im no xpert on indian religions, but i thionk they got destroyer gods. therre gods may make no claim to perfection, and without that claim, the problem of evil doesnt exist i believe.

of course madhukar gods do not exist so thay can do no good or evil. these things are always done by people

There clearly is a different culture at work here, but you said it yourself Carl, without gods the problem of evil doesn't exist. It doesn't exist in the form given by Epicurus, and it doesn't exist as a human problem because we don't deal in absolutes, in pure good and pure evil. Our human condition is characterized by shades of grey, not black and white distinctions. Madhukar is using the word evil as being synonymous with bad, and if this is all we take him to mean then yes, there is bad in the world, but people are not evil, and their actions are not evil, they are just more or less good and more or less bad.

"There is good and bad, but evil means...."

Wanderer, when you create a definition you can say anything you choose.

I won't ask you how good and bad differ from good and evil, or from right and wrong.

"Nature is neither malevolent nor benevolent, it simply exists."

I agree, and add that nature is indifferent. We care for each other, or no one does.

Tom, I can say anything I choose regardless. :-)

// Nature makes evil men ''

 

Hardly. Babies are born innocent.

Evil is manufactured by the society lived in. Pastors and priests being in the position they've learned to 'create' providing themselves with POWER - MONEY/WEALTH and SEXUAL FAVORS - create much evil that we see now. They make the rules - it's a dictatorship. Using a book they tell everyone is perfect in every way - the rules are set in stone. You're now a bigot and a racist if you follow those rules OR you're a complete hypocrite if you vere away from those rules.

You're caught in your own trap of evil created by these dictatorial leaders that everyone seems to hold in such high esteem. It's definately human produced. Nature is neutral and could care less what any human thinks.

yes but to a buddhist a beby is born with karma. however im a product of america and an atheist so i agree with you. so do we restrict evil to acts done by an imaginary god and call acts of humans bad? strange question i know, so perhaps bad acts done in the name of god are evil?

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