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.
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!
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.