Summarise The Most Powerful And Persuasive Argument For Atheism That You Have Read. What Is Your Response? A person who believes in the existence of God, does so not because there is concrete fact to suggest that God does exist, but because they have a feeling, or a need to believe. Their faith can neither be proven correct nor incorrect. It is therefore difficult to persuade a believer not to believe, typically no argument can ever sway the opinion of someone who has unquestionable faith in the existence of God. As an atheist I feel just as strongly about my own beliefs. I cannot believe in something/ someone who to my mind has never physically appeared.
It might be argued that Christ was God, but Jesus himself only claimed to be the Son of God. So for me the greatest argument for the non-existence of God is the lack of his physical presence or even any evidence that he exists. I favour this argument not because it is strong, or even particularly well thought out, but because I firmly believe that there is no Deity. I believe this based on the same gut feeling that most religious people would base their faith. People who believe in the existence of God have many proofs, ranging from the proof by design (it is too much of a coincidence that the world is perfect), to the miracles of Jesus.
Equally I have many arguments for the non-existence of God. A good example being: God is considered to be immutable, unchanging, equally God transcends time and space. If we accept these factors to be true then how is it that the world was created. For creation to have taken place then God would have to have changed from a non-creator, to a creator, thus there is a contradiction. My most favoured argument for atheism however, concerns the presence of evil.
There is one further point that I would like to make before discussing the argument in hand. For many years scholars have debated the question of the existence of God, offering proofs for and against his being. However, the whole concept seems floored. For if we are to understand God as being the supreme being then we must surely see him as being above the rationality of mortals, and yet we discuss things that he may or may not have done, and should and shouldnt do, justifying them using our own codes of morality, rationality and ethics. By definition Gods actions cannot be rationalised as we rationalise our own. The analogy that immediately springs to mind is that of a court minus the defendant.
It would seem foolish to us for a lawyer to defend a man, never having met him, or had a chance to discuss his MO. Applying ones own rational to another is foolish, because typically another person will justify their actions differently, i.e. they will have another motive for doing something due to the fact that people think independently, and not as a group. Our actions and reasons are personal, perhaps influenced, but unique a benefit of free will. So, it is not only arrogant, but foolish to try and argue for or against the existence of God based on nature, natural events, emotions, states of being, circumstance or situation. Therefore the existence of God can neither be proven nor disproved and the result is that belief comes down to a simple choice, you either do or you dont and your reason can be no more than a feeling, and cannot be based on physical evidence. The Presence of Evil In its most basic form the problem is: 1. God is perfectly good and so does not wish suffering to take place.
2. God is omnipotent. 3. God is omniscient. 4. Evil exists.
This poses a clear contradiction, for if God is all the things that we listed above, then evil could not exist. If God is omniscient, God must know that there are instances of evil in the world; if God is omnipotent then God must be able to prevent these instances from occurring ; if God is perfectly good, then God must want to prevent occurrences of evil. But there are instances of evil in the world, so God must either not exist, or does not have the character traditionally ascribed by theists. Equally if God is not all of these things, then he is not really God, because he is not perfect, leaving room for a God above God. It is important to discuss here what we mean by evil. There are two forms of evil: moral and natural. Moral evil is the evil brought about by human beings, and includes phenomena such as war, torture, physical violence, poverty, injustice and political oppression. Natural evil includes all those things that cause suffering but which are not brought about by human agents for instance, disease, famine, earthquakes, hurricanes, death. These are some of the justifications put forward to defend God and the presence of evil, in their most basic form.
I will go on to discuss them in more detail later. Augustine would argue that evil is the privation of good, so that evil does not really exist it is simply less good, an imperfection such as blindness would therefore be an evil, because man is meant to see. However, Ivan Karamazov states that evil does exist and can most easily be seen in the suffering of innocent children. Ivan argues that the suffering of the innocent, i.e. children (babies) negates the reason for creation.
Creation is not good and Ivan accordingly rejects the world that God has made. The free will argument suggests that evil exists because if we are to be truly free then God needs to allow suffering to occur. Natural evil can be explained by the need for natural laws to operate regularly and to provide the forum in which human beings learn to cope with their environment and to surmount the challenges with which they are faced. Finally, evil exists perhaps because if it didnt then we could not properly appreciate good, in other words it is a necessary opposite to modify a quotation, If evil did not exist than man would create it. Something always has to be better than something else, so that which was not quite perfect would cease being “good/ OK” and become evil. The words good and evil simply describe opposite ends of a spectrum. I have examined the proof for the non-existence of God, but the proof means nothing without first looking at the arguments from the other side.
It is important to look at the arguments that those who advocate the existence of God put forward to contradict the presence of evil, and show them to be incorrect. The Augustine Tradition Augustine rejects the idea that there is one principle for good (God) and one principle for evil (the devil); such a dualistic distinction of these powers threatens the sovereignty of God. This might seem to suggest that God is the fount of all things even evil. Augustine, however, wants to deny that this is the case. Instead he argues that it is wrong to think of evil as an active principle; evil should be understood as non-being. It is a lack of goodness. Evil is a privation, anon-entity, the name for nothing but the want of good (Augustine City of God). While Augustine solves the problem of the sovereignty of God and Gods goodness, the question of accounting for the presence of evil in the first place remains.
Augustine turns to the Bible account of the Fall of humanity given in Genesis as the source of all evil Genesis 3. Evil enters into the creation because human beings deliberately turn away from the good which is God. All evil both moral and natural is thus the result of human sin. There are many problems with the Augustinian point of view. Firstly, if God created a perfect universe, how could evil have arisen? The idea of a perfect universe going wrong is self-contradictory. Secondly, for modern people the account of the Fall seems out of step with the ideas of natural scientists.
Far from falling from the perfect state of Eden, there is good evidence to suggest that human beings developed from primitive life forms. Human beings are heading towards perfection rather than away from it. Irenaean Theodicy and Free Will Defence Irenaeus (ce c.130-c.202) is the first to propose the free will defence, recently his ideas have been popularised by John Hick. Irenaeus sees two stages in human creation. All human beings are created in the image of God. However, this does not mean that they are perfect; rather they are immature creatures capable of spi …