Tuesday, 21 October 2008

The Problem of Evil

Hitler: The Personification of Evil?

As human beings go, ego tends to dictate that everything that benefits us has to be good, and anything that goes the other way, such as hurricanes and other natural disasters, is deemed bad. And when people commit atrocities deemed "inhumane" unto others, such atrocities are branded as "evil". But as far as slapping moral OB markers around, religions of the monotheistic variety are more apt to invoke this sense of self righteousness more than anyone else (The evil infidel, the dastardly atheist, etc.)

One of the most inexplicable paradoxes in Christianity, or any other religion which expounds on a benevolent, omnipotent and omniscient deity, is the problem of evil. While most polytheistic religions have no problems associating human weaknesses with deities (e.g: Zhu Ba Jie, one of the Chinese deities which resembles a hideous pig, is notorious in folklore as a lascivious creature), the Christian God, or the deity of any of the Jewish-inspired religions, has had to deal with this paradox of sorts, which can be aptly summarized by Greek theologian, Epicurus:

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.

Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?

Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?"

Indeed, this conundrum has befuddled theologians for ages; a cursory observation of Mother Nature's callous whims, objectively, of course, will tell you that benevolence, from a human perspective, can hardly be expected from an omnipotent deity, if it does exist in the first place. Death, disease, disasters, all of them have dealt a deadly hand on life on Earth on countless occasions. These are traits that are most likely to be associated with a evil tyrant, such as Hitler, for example (Although if there was a real God of the biblical kind, Hitler would have resembled a tame pussy cat rather than an outrageously murderous dictator). As always, fairy tales of the religious variety hides a very deep, dark visceral reasoning, almost to the point of logical arm-twisting, as I will attempt to present the Christian's case for evil.

The Christian's Case for Evil, Plus a Purported Cure

In this article (link here) from ChristianAnswers.Net, I shall begin to dissect portions of this problem to give the reader a juxtaposition of religious lunacy( from the Christian's point of view) versus simple, logical deduction.

1. Those Evil Babies!

According to the author of this article, babies are equally guilty of sin as compared to the average adult, regardless of their inaptness and inability to utter a single, coherent word, let alone piss of the Sky Daddy (Maybe God hates Babies???):

Since "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), there is no one who has the right to freedom from God's wrath on the basis of his own innocence.

As far as babies are concerned, and others who may be incompetent mentally to distinguish right and wrong, it is clear from both Scripture and universal experience that they are sinners by nature and thus will inevitably become sinners by choice as soon as they are able to do so.

This deluded idea that babies are somehow evil mini-mes designed to destroy the world stems from the Genesis story of the Original Sin: Adam and Eve ate the apples from the damn tree; they started to wank and screw each other and began a mass procreation scheme that resembles a mass-producing factory of babies, and each baby that was subsequently born had to carry the irrevocable stain of the Original Sin and hence ultimately responsible for the murder of the Jewish Man-God, Jebus. Hence, the askew logic that all babies are sinners, and thoroughly deserving of Hell if they happen to die perhaps within weeks or even days after birth. What a bumper!

Herein lies a severe, fundamental problem: Christians, particularly the Catholics, have tried to justify the fate of babies, for we know that babies, or children for the matter, are technically incapable of comprehending the idea of religion the way adults perceive them (Rather erroneously, of course). While Catholics have invented the "purgatory" as a stop-gap measure for babies or infants who died before they managed to even utter the word "Jebus", the more hardcore Christians will deem infants fit enough, guilty enough, to suffer an eternity with the rest of the infidels and atheists and what-nots in the burning cauldrons of hell.

As far as most people, including medical practitioners, comprehend, babies have minds that are more akin to untainted sheets of paper. While there is research to hint that some people are more susceptible to crime and violence than others from a genetic point of view, the truth is that babies, being babies, are hapless little creatures more at home with throwing tantrums than being criminals (or sinners, in the view of the Christian) of the hardcore variety, or criminals of any shape and size, for the matter.

The idea that a sweet, innocent baby is apportioned guilt with regards to causing the crucifixion of a deity has to be the biggest con job in the history of religious bullshit: If such a preposterous idea was true, one would hardly describe the deity in question as "benevolent", unless, of course, one harbors the delusion that everyone, including babies, are budding masochists designed by the loving hand of God.

2. The Inherent Evil of Man & The Need for a Savior

Christians love to throw in the banter of Jesus and the issue of the Original Sin: Adam and Eve sinned; Jesus came to this puny little planet (Funny why he didn't choose Pluto. Oh yes, last I heard it lost its status as a planet!) to save our sorry asses from the burning furnaces of hell.

As ChristianAnswers. Net illustrates:

"The Lord Jesus Christ, who was the only truly "innocent" and "righteous" man in all history, nevertheless has
suffered more than anyone else who ever lived.

And this He did for us! “Christ died for our sins” (I Corinthians 15:3). He suffered and died, in order that ultimately He might deliver the world from the Curse, and that, even now, He can deliver from sin and its bondage anyone who will receive Him in faith as personal Lord and Savior. This great deliverance from the penalty of inherent sin, as well as of overt sins, very possibly also assures the salvation of those who have died before reaching an age of conscious choice of wrong over right."

Here, the remarks seem to be in direct contrast with its earlier remarks of infant punishment; perhaps the babies could be spared from the ignominious fate of eternal damnation?

Here, the writer spells out the thoughts of the average Christian succinctly: Jebus was crucified for our sins, and while this may sound a little strange to those who are not fully acquainted with Christianity, the punishment was meted out to the Man-God proceeded long before you or I were born. Maybe that is where George W. Bush got his inspiration for his innovative "premptive strike" policy from (smack 'em before the deed's done!).

Jokes aside, one point to note is that while Christians are quite willing to send us infidels into a guilt trip with regards to the sacrificial lamb analogy, what is often not stated is that none of us ever had to decide on his fate in the first place! The idea that someone has already atoned for your transgressions even before you were born (Jebus supposedly was crucified 2000 yrs ago) by a Man-God who happened to rise again from the jaws of death after 3 days smacks of divine condescension to me.

The Thorny Issue of Evil

Whether it is the roasting of cute little babies, or the erroneous idea that someone was punished for your sins before you even have a chance to change out of your stinky diapers, the truth is that Christians who follow the steps of St Aquinas and perform mental flip-flops of this sort are making vain attempts at squaring an unwilling trinity: Evil can hardly be spoken in the same breath as benevolence, omnipotence and omniscience, since it denotes a malevolence or ineptness on the part of the deity.

While Jebus is being portrayed as an elixir for the woes and sins of the entire homo sapien race, the idea that somehow a barbaric act of sacrificing a man to a torturous death (and a Man God, no less!) is not only disgusting, it simply askews our very basic, secular notions of freedom, liberty (especially liberty from torture!) and human rights.

Add to that, a total absence of evidence with regards to the presence of a trinitarian deity (or any deity for that matter), makes the whole case for the Christian's version of evil and entirely phony one.

-"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy."

David Brooks