Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The "Evil God Challenge"

Stephen Law is fine for me to blog about his forthcoming paper, which is here. He suggests that for every theodicy which explains how a world created by a good God could have so much evil there is a similar agrument that would explain how a world created by an evil god could have so much good.

It is an interesting and thought-provoking paper. Of course I think there are a lot of problems with his arguments! It seems to me that the most fundamental ones can be seen if we consider the following statement:

A(LUC): Belief in a Loving Ultimate Creator is a worldview that is deeply satisfying for its hundreds of millions of adherents, provides richly articulated explanations of many fundamental aspects of their experience, and helps them lead happier, more satisfying and evolutionary successful lives.

Now first of all, whether or not you think that A(LUC) ought to be true in a rational world, it seems clear to me that it is true in this world and encapsulates many of the reasons why people believe in God. It also offers some explanation of why militant atheism is ultimately futile: any worldview of which A is true is likely to prosper. Of course A does not say anything directly about whether or in what sense this worldview is true. But I think it is plausible to argue that if there were a LUC then it is likely that the universe would be such that A(LUC) were true.

However for the present purposes what is notable about A is that every aspect of it is false if made into A(EUC): “Belief in an Evil Ultimate Creator is...”. Not only does the EUC idea have zero adherents, it isn’t a worldview, is in no sense “richly articulated”, offers only parodies of explanations of some aspects of our existence, and it is pretty clear that if anyone really believed it their lives would be miserable, unsatisfying and highly unlikely to encourage the successful raising of children. (Much the same applies to the silly Flying Spaghetti Monster)

Of course I'm not arguing that all ideas with zero adherents must be false or that something must be true because it has so many adherents or such a lot of literature. But I think this does rather squarely meet your challenge, and certainly shows the falsehood of the “symmetry thesis”.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Any religion that claims to possess or own the one and only "true" faith/way/revelation has effectively declared war on ALL other faiths and their cultural expressions, and WILL given half the chance use whatever means it can, to "convert" everyone else to this one "true" way.

Both Islam and Christianity specialize in this attitude and tactic.

Such an attitude and tactic ALWAYS creates mega-deaths.

As if any group (large or small) of SINFUL human beings could even begin to possess or own the TRUTH.

And yet THAT IS how these two religions have always behaved on the world stage---and still do.

I find that these 3 references tell us in an unambigous way how much evil that power seeking churchianity has created in the world---thus producing mountains of corpses.