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Austin Cline

Is God Perfectly Evil? Defending the Depravity of God

By May 24, 2006

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Many Christians and other religious theists like to point to marvelous aspects of life or nature in order to 'prove' that God is perfectly good. After all, isn't everything in life wonderful? Well, actually, it's not - there are lots of awful things about life which might arguably point to the existence of a perfectly evil god.

Stephen Law writes in the September/October 2005 issue of Skeptical Inquirer a fictional conversation between two aliens in which one tries to convince the other about the existence of a perfectly evil god, using some very familiar arguments:

GIZIMOTH: letís agree about that, then. God, if he exists, is omnipotent. But here on Eth, those who believe in God also attribute another property to him, donít they?

BOOBLEFRlP: Yes. As you know, we also believe that God Ďs all-evil.

GIZIMOTH: Can you explain what you mean by that?

BOOBLEFRlP: Not only does Godís power know no bounds, neither does his depravity. His cruelty is infinite; his malice without end.

[...]

GIZIMOTH: But why define God that way? Why not suppose, instead, that God is neither good nor evil? Or why not suppose he is all-good?

(Booblefrip thinks Gizimoth has gone too far.)

BOOBLEFRIP: What a bizarre suggestion. Itís obvious our creator is very clearly evil! Take a look around you! Witness the horrendous suffering he inflicts upon us. The floods. The ethquakes. Cancer. The vile, rotting stench of Godís creation is overwhelming!

Gizimoth naturally points out that life isnít perfectly evil ó after all, there are lots of good things about life, too, right? Booblefrip has an answer to this objection, though:

BOOBLEFRIP: Very well. Godís malevolence is without end. True, he lets us do good. He allows us to act selflessly for the betterment of others, for example. But thereís a reason for that.

GIZIMOTH: What reason?

BOOBLEFRIP: God gave us free will.

GIZIMOTH: Free will?

BOOBLEFRIP: Yes. God could have made us mere automata that always did the wrong thing. But he didnít do that. He gave us the freedom to choose how we act.

GIZIMOTH: Why?

BOOBLEFRIP: By giving us free will, God actually increased the amount of suffering there is in the world. He made the world far more terrible than it would otherwise have been!

GIZIMOTH: How?

BOOBLEFRIP: Think about it. By giving us free will, God be sure we will agonize endlessly about what we o. For free will brings with it the torture of temptation. And then, when we succumb to temptation, we feel guilty. Knowing that being free, we could have done otherwise, we feel awful about what we have done. e end up torturing ourselves. The exquisitely evil Irony of it all!

Booblefripís arguments are obviously ridiculous, but thereís nothing unique about them ó they are essentially the same as the arguments used by Christians in defending the idea that the design of the universe points to the existence of a perfectly good God. Booblefripís arguments arenít ridiculous because of the conclusion, they are ridiculous because the ďreasoningĒ is so awful. People will recognize this, though, without understanding that the same is true about the parallel Christian arguments.

This is only a small sampling of the conversation, though ó I recommending finding and reading the full piece.

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Comments
May 24, 2006 at 2:04 pm
(1) Triphesas says:

I managed to find the full text of the article here. The conversation is from page 3 to page 9.

May 30, 2006 at 5:56 am
(2) Nihal says:

The view that god gave his creations the free will only supports the argument that god is all evil, if such an entity does exis.

Theists believe that god is omniscient. That he knows the past present and the future. If that is the case then he would have known what a a creation of his,like Hitler, was going to do, with the free will granted to him, even before creating Hitler.
In other words god makes criminals knowing very well that they they will cause suffering to others.
Therefore who is more evil? The creator or his creation?

November 16, 2006 at 6:55 pm
(3) Jaclyn Cox says:

Hello..my name is Jaclyn. I was born and raised in Tennesee. I grew around the most strictest of faith and belief..southern baptist

November 16, 2006 at 7:26 pm
(4) Jaclyn Cox says:

okay, just making sure that I am making my statement to awaken the world of my reality for the past two years and a half…PREPARE YOURSELVES FOR FALSE PROPHECY OF THE HOLY BIBLE!! Whoever reads this, please spread the word around the world. Anyways, very few people know of my story besides a few doctors and close relatives. I have been humanly tortured in every way imagined possible by some higher power… God! I consider myself to be extremely holy and spiritual. I consider myself to be a extreme peacemaker and the “perfect display of manner that the ” God of the bible” would happily except into heaven “. If you would have came up to me three years ago and told me that I would be looking up and typing about God being evil .. I would have said never… I love God’s perfect law. First of all, let’s get one answer clear…GOD DOES EXIST. but not only does he exist he is exremely, extremely (and I am saying this on behalf of my shouting soul and everything that I have observed in the past two or so years) DAMNED..IN OTHER WORDS EVIL. Look around us, all you will see is human suffering and extreme oppression!I have been extremely, badly, cut on and shocked and mind tortured and i mean this with every truthful bone in my body…WORDS cannot describe to you the suffering and TORTURE that I walk through every day. I am surrounded by voices, which are maybe angels, and they come from all directions, I am not sure how many…And yes , for all you ignorant doctors out there.. I am taking medication for my ” auditory hallucinations ” . anyways back to reaching out to humanity… I was a baptist and now instead of referring to the book of Job, like so many people have told me to, all I know what to say is this…prepare for false prophecy of the holy bible!!!! And whoever reads this…i just got a shock sticking sensation on my thumb, anyways be wise and spread the word…what’s going on with me I would not wish off on any human! Bless you all

June 19, 2007 at 6:07 am
(5) Robert says:

The profile of God is of an eternal entity morally perfect and wise with absolute power to do whatever it/he desires and is the maker of everything. It /he desires/demands to be loved, admired, worshiped, knelt before and obeyed for reasons of the preceding qualities. Consider how puerile this is. If you were the father of a young boy or girl you would not say ĎBecause I am wiser than you and can do many things that you can not and was responsible for you being here kneel down and worship meí. If you did so, you would be mad. That is absolutely true of the biblical God. Open your eyes and think. At this point, I should point out that the biblical Satan desires the same as God that is for you to kneel down and worship him.
Worship (OE weordhscipe (WORTH, -SHIP)) worthiness, merit, recognition, honour & respect, reverent homage or service paid to God, adoration or devotion, adore as divine etc, etc.
For the purpose of this discussion let us suppose that an entity (God or whoever..the whoever is very important) designed and made/fabricated the Universe and everything in it. Remembering that he is perfect in every way; would he want or desire to make anything that was flawed? Or being God would not all of his works be perfect as he supposedly is? Consider your body. How extremely fallible it is in so many ways. Your reproductive areas (the penis, vagina etc ) are right next to the part of your body that excretes waste matter (faeces). Would you design it like that, are you better than God? If you were living from before 200 years in the past how disgusting it must have been. Even now if society broke down and you had no soap or toilet paper think of how disgusting and smelly you would be.
To be evil, malicious, harmful and a liar means that you are flawed (mad). Would a perfect entity (God) make anything that could become so? And even if he did, would he not remove it instantly if it became so?
Putting aside the naÔve, puerile fairy story of Adam and Eve and the garden of Eden. And ignoring the free will nonsense that religious people use to excuse the badness/ugliness of man consider your position. A person that lies, cheats or is malicious, amoral HAS NO FREE WILL. A mad flawed person does not have free will or intelligence (understanding). He/she might be clever (most successful criminals are) but does not have free will. Consider the Islamic religion. If you are a fundamentalist Muslim, you kneel down facing an irrelevant point and pray/worship every day. Think how stupid, puerile and mad this is. Do the people who do that have intelligence or free will? There is no logic in the argument of free will. Does the lion, tiger, leopard, eagle, crocodile, and shark, have free will when it stalks, kills and devours its prey? Does the suicide bomber, the person/soldier killing, raping, torturing, the embezzler, all the ones exploiting others, the thugs and uncaring criminals have free will? No, they do not. They do not have intelligence or free will. According to the so-called Holy writing who is responsible? Where does the buck stop? If you are religious, the answer is God. He is supposedly both all-powerful and perfect in righteousness. How and why does this supposedly perfect entity for a microsecond allow all the evil and badness?
Now you might give the perfect stupid, worthless and puerile replyÖGod moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform. If you do, you are both mad and unintelligent and what is more YOU have no free will.

February 7, 2009 at 3:05 am
(6) Jaclyn says:

umm…

God is an energy… rather than a person

God has to be a strong..so he can inspire us to find happiness in ourselves and family

Thats what the commandments where for. Yes they may seem like strict laws but they were not mean to be. Whoever reported the commandments or God just wants you to grasp onto your family and your wife and family and then everything else like money, vanity (intention to impress others), status and pursuing those attractive would dissappear (they’ll never love you as much as your loved ones).

All you need is love, God is just that energy to INSPIRE us to find that love, not the JUDGEMENTAL LAW

February 7, 2009 at 4:42 am
(7) Jaclyn says:

To me the meaning of life is that we simply live for others.

MAN CANT SURVIVE ALONE, thats why I think they made the Adam and Lilith/Eve story, just to say that even in paradise we need a mate and noones perfect. If you believe everything in the bible you’d see crooks on the street turning to dust, but you donít. Looks like God doesnt roll that way.

WE NEED OTHERS TO NOTICE US, so that we feel we exist and are important. We are programmed to reproduce and therefore we are programmed to compete against others and to find our mate. That is our animalistic function.

Without people to notice us and love us, we feel invisible, we feel that no matter what we do nothing will change for the better. LONELINESS IS THE WORST PAIN. Itís an eternity of numbing emptiness, deafening silence and frustratingly never being heard. If people felt invisible to world, its makes it easier to be suicidal, you feel no one will notice anyway and the loneliness (like I said) is the worst pain.

Through centuries and centuries, people desperately avoid this pain and pursuit of their human function, by doing whatever it takes to get people to notice us, even if it means to get people to become envious or attracted etc to us. Thatís why people are obsessed with being attractive, who is prettier/popular/desirable/better than us, getting seen in high-roller clothes and pretty cars, getting seen rich, even through scamming people– just to get people to notice us and validate our existence. Thatís why theres so much crap in the world. We are self-obsessed consumers. This is what we have become, all because we canít stand the loneliness and we so desperately need acceptance so we can find love, and have a family (our biological programming).

Yes with all our clothes and money, it does make it easier to wake up in the morning and being happy. But that is not true happiness!!

Imagine, you wake up one day, youíre beautiful as hell and youíve got the best mink fur coat and youíre driving down the road, FEELING REAL GOOD!!! Suddenly you look around you on the streets and everything is blown up and everyone is lying there dead. You walk down the ghost town and the only thing you hear is just your footsteps and the wind. You are the only human alive. You go to the stores and you see designerís clothes all for the taking but surprisingly seeing all this brings heavy pangs of emptiness and loneliness in the bottom of your stomach. You walk to the movies and do whatever you want, but surprisingly that doesnt feel good either. Beauty, possessions, and money doesnít matter because you donít have anyone to see it and share it with. Under all our social layers, you’d realise IF YOU DIDNíT HAVE FAMILY AND YOUR LOVED ONES, YOU COULD JUST END IT NOW instead of wondering street as the only human aliveÖ..That is why normal everyday people survive life-or-death situations and why people sacrifice themselves to save others. If your boat sinks, the reason why you brave the cold, block all thoughts of death and hypothermia to keep swimming, why you tell yourself that youre not getting sleepy your legs arenít getting heavy and not to be scared is that you have someone thatís more important to you that you need to survive to see them, rescue them and live for/with them.

So yes, the meaning of life; the reason we wake up in the morning, put on our make up, bother to socialise, fight death….is so we see another day with the ones we love and so we they never live a day mourning and missing you.

This is the truth of our species. We donít have beautiful peacock feathers, dominant roars and court ship dances. Instead we act like idiots and screw other people over and bully others (to wipe other competition) so we can get ahead and become reproducible and successful. Bad things that happen have nothing to do with God. Just us.

I think Gods just wants us to focus on our family and friends. If you want to feel wanted then its their love you need, nothing else. Our suffering is from our misdirected actions to find acceptance. God is trying to show where to find it and we do that Gods love is our safety net. Beside God knows we canít be perfect, thatís why Jesus where there.

peh, you really think God would turn us to salt…hhahah.. may be Gods a partner with McDonalds

February 7, 2009 at 6:21 am
(8) robert sutherland says:

You might be interested in this online commentary “Putting God on Trial: The Biblical Book of Job” (http://www.bookofjob.org). It is not a sin to question God, to demand answers from God. There is a time and a place for such things. It is written by a Canadian criminal defense lawyer, now a Crown prosecutor, and it explores the legal and moral dynamics of the Book of Job with particular emphasis on the distinction between causal responsibility and moral blameworthiness embedded in Jobís Oath of Innocence. It is highly praised by Job scholars (Clines, Janzen, Habel) and the Review of Biblical Literature, all of whose reviews are on the website. It is also taught in 262 US high schools in 40 states through Chapter 17 in The Bible and Its Influence. The author is an evangelical Christian, denominationally Anglican. He is also the Canadian Director for the Mortimer J. Adler Centre for the Study of the Great Ideas, a Chicago-based think tank.

February 7, 2009 at 10:08 am
(9) Austin Cline says:

God is an energy… rather than a person

Can you show that there is any god at all?

God has to be a strong..so he can inspire us to find happiness in ourselves and family

Or maybe god doesn’t have to be at all.

Besides if god isn’t a person, god can’t be “he.”

All you need is love, God is just that energy to INSPIRE us to find that love

Actually, I don’t needs any gods in order to love. Why do you?

February 13, 2009 at 2:43 pm
(10) MrMarkAZ says:

God is an energyÖ rather than a person

Well, that’s one explanation for the Pink Floyd laser light show you saw back in high school …

February 13, 2009 at 3:33 pm
(11) Zayla says:

A people inspired by their religion. This is how they think. I will leave this link in a number of places. Please read.

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentID=2009020828735

February 13, 2009 at 7:58 pm
(12) Jolly Jack says:

Many speak of “free will” as though it was a gift from a benevolent god, thereby crowning him with goodness.
What god, in its right mind, having created humanity, and thus having supreme power over humanity, would then grant its creation the power to do as it liked?
What potter, having created an object to his liking, would then allow it to change into whatever shape it wanted?
Come on, folks, let’s be real! We only have to look at the world around us to understand that everything in it is here by circumstance or chance!
Would a perfect god, all-knowing and all-powerful and all-loving, who supposedly created our world in six days, allow the world to fall into such a poor state of repair, when he could rectify it by simply snapping his fingers?
How can anyone say that their god is omniscient and thus knows the outcome of everything? If so, then life is meaningless, because everything is preordained.
Actually, life is meaningless, but that doesn’t mean we can’t live meaningful lives!
Life here on our planet Earth is simply a gamble — either we make it or we don’t. I’d rather rely on myself and the loved ones around me than turn to a figment of the wild imagination of our pagan forbears!
There is no god! Never was, never will be!
Stop wasting time praying (baying) at the moon! Our time here is limited! Use your intelligence and make the best of this ONE AND ONLY opportunity!
There will be NO SECOND CHANCE!!!!!!

February 14, 2009 at 2:19 am
(13) Pujjuut says:

>>>MAN CANT SURVIVE ALONE, thats why I think they made the Adam and Lilith/Eve story, just to say that even in paradise we need a mate and noones perfect. If you believe everything in the bible youíd see crooks on the street turning to dust, but you donít. Looks like God doesnt roll that way.>>WE NEED OTHERS TO NOTICE US, so that we feel we exist and are important.>>We are programmed to reproduce and therefore we are programmed to compete against others and to find our mate. That is our animalistic function.>>Without people to notice us and love us, we feel invisible, we feel that no matter what we do nothing will change for the better. LONELINESS IS THE WORST PAIN. Itís an eternity of numbing emptiness, deafening silence and frustratingly never being heard. If people felt invisible to world, its makes it easier to be suicidal, you feel no one will notice anyway and the loneliness (like I said) is the worst pain.>>Through centuries and centuries, people desperately avoid this pain and pursuit of their human function, by doing whatever it takes to get people to notice us, even if it means to get people to become envious or attracted etc to us.>>Thatís why people are obsessed with being attractive, who is prettier/popular/desirable/better than us, getting seen in high-roller clothes and pretty cars, getting seen rich, even through scamming peopleĖ just to get people to notice us and validate our existence.>>Thatís why theres so much crap in the world.>>We are self-obsessed consumers. This is what we have become>>All because we canít stand the loneliness and we so desperately need acceptance so we can find love, and have a family (our biological programming).>>Yes with all our clothes and money, it does make it easier to wake up in the morning and being happy. But that is not true happiness!!>>Imagine, you wake up one day, youíre beautiful as hell and youíve got the best mink fur coat and youíre driving down the road, FEELING REAL GOOD!!! Suddenly you look around you on the streets and everything is blown up and everyone is lying there dead. You walk down the ghost town and the only thing you hear is just your footsteps and the wind. You are the only human alive. You go to the stores and you see designerís clothes all for the taking but surprisingly seeing all this brings heavy pangs of emptiness and loneliness in the bottom of your stomach. You walk to the movies and do whatever you want, but surprisingly that doesnt feel good either. Beauty, possessions, and money doesnít matter because you donít have anyone to see it and share it with. Under all our social layers, youíd realise IF YOU DIDNíT HAVE FAMILY AND YOUR LOVED ONES, YOU COULD JUST END IT NOW instead of wondering street as the only human aliveÖ..That is why normal everyday people survive life-or-death situations and why people sacrifice themselves to save others. If your boat sinks, the reason why you brave the cold, block all thoughts of death and hypothermia to keep swimming, why you tell yourself that youre not getting sleepy your legs arenít getting heavy and not to be scared is that you have someone thatís more important to you that you need to survive to see them, rescue them and live for/with them.>>So yes, the meaning of life; the reason we wake up in the morning, put on our make up, bother to socialize, fight deathÖ.is so we see another day with the ones we love and so we they never live a day mourning and missing you.>>This is the truth of our species. We donít have beautiful peacock feathers, dominant roars and court ship dances.>>Instead we act like idiots and screw other people over and bully others (to wipe other competition) so we can get ahead and become reproducible and successful.>>Bad things that happen have nothing to do with God. Just us.>>I think Gods just wants us to focus on our family and friends. If you want to feel wanted then its their love you need, nothing else. Our suffering is from our misdirected actions to find acceptance. God is trying to show where to find it and we do that Gods love is our safety net. Beside God knows we canít be perfect, thatís why Jesus where there>>peh, you really think God would turn us to saltÖhhahah.. may be Gods a partner with McDonalds

February 14, 2009 at 2:26 am
(14) Pujjuut says:

Don’t see my answers in my last comment.. I had some great answers too.. If you don’t have them please delete this and comment #13

February 14, 2009 at 8:42 am
(15) Zayla says:

pujjuunt:

I have a comment. Use paragraphs!!!!!

I can’t read it the way it is, so therefore I can’t comment.

Paragraphs, please!

February 14, 2009 at 10:33 am
(16) Weemaryanne says:

@ Robert Sutherland, re “It is not a sin to question God, to demand answers from God. There is a time and a place for such things….”

Apparently the “time and place for such things” is at the brink of death. If it’s so very important then why shouldn’t we engage in such questioning while we’re still in possession of our reasoning skills and not scared witless?

February 14, 2009 at 6:22 pm
(17) Tom Edgar says:

Zayla’s comments are spot on. To which I add to Pujjuut the use of the apostrophe is essential. Gods and God’s mean two totally different things.

Not only that, rambling on without taking a breath is so exhausting, and becomes totally unreadable and, more importantly, unintelligible. After a while I felt. He has something to say; what is it?

I tried to make allowances for it being, possibly, your second language, but then I often have difficulty understanding some American (and a few English) vocal speech patterns, and English is really my only language.

February 15, 2009 at 5:15 am
(18) Jolly Jack says:

Pujjuut says:

Bad things that happen have nothing to do with God. Just us.>>I think Gods just wants us to focus on our family and friends. If you want to feel wanted then its their love you need, nothing else. Our suffering is from our misdirected actions to find acceptance. God is trying to show where to find it and we do that Gods love is our safety net.

With all due respect, but it took a lot of determination on my part to persevere thru your one long paragraph.

In essence, what you are saying, Pujjuut, is that it’s our fault for all the natural disasters that occur around the world.
If, as you say, your god really loves us, why does he allow these events to occur? If he created our world in just 6 days, it seems to me he could simply snap his fingers and prevent the occurrence of the Australian bushfires, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, storms, floods, airplane accidents, even tsunamis, like the one that hit SE Asia in Dec. 2004 and killed almost a quarter of a million people, but he doesn’t, does he? Doesn’t seem like much of a demonstration of love to me!
And while he’s about it, couldn’t he just snap his fingers again and end all wars and conflicts between nations, not to mention all diseases and illnesses and deformities, or is it because he’s not as omnipotent as he purports to be, despite his rush job on Earth?
If it were in my power to end all disasters and disease, I would do it in a split second, which shows that I have more compassion than your god, but how can a mere human be more merciful than the god that created him?
Perhaps his omnipotence needs a big overhaul, or has it ever occurred to you that perhaps he just doesn’t exist?

August 8, 2009 at 10:36 pm
(19) PManitok says:

From the looks of it Pujjuut was trying to comment on #7 Jaclyn. Asked for deletion of his comment because he didn’t see his comments for atheism.

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