Arguments Against god... LONG

Terry Donaghe (
Wed, 26 Aug 1998 08:00:29 -0700 (PDT)

Perhaps this is old hat to everyone here. Maybe not.

When I was in an intro to philosophy class in Mississippi, the class was full of Bible Belt Believers most of whom were fundamentalists. They took the bible literaly and were consumed in their faith. What they were doing in a philosophy class, I'm not sure. I guess they thought it would be an "easy A".

Anyway, the professor brought half the class to tears with the following (heavily paraphrased):

Let's assume God to be the following:
Omnipotent - all powerful
Omnibenevolent - all good, incapable of evil Omniscient - all knowing
(The class agrees)

This argument also assumes the existence of good and bad, which I'm not too sure about.

Now let's picture a baby and a three year old all alone in the middle of a dark forrest. Suddenly a wolf leaps out of the shadows and eats the infant. The three year old screams and runs away. Can we blame the three year old? Of course not, there was nothing he could do. He was powerless.

Now, assume the same situation, but this time instead of a three year old, it's a 16 year old boy. Again the wolf leaps out and eats the baby. The 16 year old was terrified and frozen in his tracks. Should we get mad at the 16 year old? Probably not, but couldn't he have at least picked up a stick and tried to scare off the wolf? Maybe, but I think most people would give him the benifit of the doubt.

Now, this time replace the boy with a very strong grown man who knows all about wolves. This man is armed with a high powered rifle and several pistols. He's been attacked by wolves before and has succesfuly fought them all off. He's a bad ass. Again, the wolf jumps out and eats the baby right in front of this heavily armed man - he had time to shoot, but did nothing. Should we blame him? Hell yes! He could and should have saved the baby. We might even say his indecision was "bad."

Now, replace the man with our all powerful, all good, all knowing God. The baby gets eaten and God does nothing. Should we blame him? He saw the wolf coming and knew what he was going to do and could, according to our definition, stop it. Our "God" is also all good, so how can he let this happen? Obviously there is something wrong with our definition of God. Or perhaps with good. If God isn't all good or all powerful or all knowing, is he worthy of our mindless worship?

I certainly don't claim to be a philosopher or even particularly clever, but this argument was probably the single most important thing that led me away from my irrational beliefs and "faith."

I present it here just as my $0.02 worth in the ongoing discussion.


Terry Donaghe
Pancritical Rationalist
"Live free forever or die, dammit!"

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