Does atheism solve the problem of evil?
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23-11-2013, 09:28 AM
Does atheism solve the problem of evil?
I have already seen that religion fails to answer the basic problem of evil. Do atheists have an explanation of where evil comes from and the correct way to stop it?
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23-11-2013, 09:42 AM (This post was last modified: 23-11-2013 09:59 AM by sporehux.)
RE: Does atheism solve the problem of evil?
(23-11-2013 09:28 AM)chandlerklebs Wrote:  I have already seen that religion fails to answer the basic problem of evil. Do atheists have an explanation of where evil comes from and the correct way to stop it?

Evil is to me a broad definition of despicable behaviour.
It comes from many reasons, terrible upbringings, metal health issues.
Learnt/succumbed to from peer pressure,
Mostly I think its a lack of empathy for the entities that are the target of the evil.
of course one persons evil can be another's breakfast .

So Unless your specify exactly what you definition of evil is and in what cultural context . the word has only a vague meaning.

If you think Evil is a "thing" (entity, supernatural force), then your not an Atheist.

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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23-11-2013, 09:57 AM (This post was last modified: 23-11-2013 10:08 AM by Reltzik.)
RE: Does atheism solve the problem of evil?
(23-11-2013 09:28 AM)chandlerklebs Wrote:  I have already seen that religion fails to answer the basic problem of evil. Do atheists have an explanation of where evil comes from and the correct way to stop it?

The Problem of Evil, as an objection to the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent god, can be basically stated as such:

If such a being existed, it would have the capacity (omnipotence), awareness (omniscience) and motivation (benevolence) to prevent plenty of suffering. It would want to prevent it and be able to prevent it. Yet such suffering exists. The existence of such a being and the existence of such suffering are apparently contradictory.

To avoid this paradox, either one must deny the existence of suffering, or one must reject the existence of such a god, or one must spin out some argument about how the existence of such a deity is not a contradiction with the existence of suffering.

With the problem of evil thus stated, it is easy to see how atheism avoids the paradox: By rejecting the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent god. At that point the existence of suffering is quite consistent with our world view. Suffering may be undesirable and something to be mitigated, but it does not represent a contradiction with our view of how the world actually is.

EDIT: As to where atheists think evil comes from and how we can stop it (your original question, should probably read more carefully before going off on tangents like that), atheism makes no clear statement on the subject, and in fact holds no consensus as to what the word "evil" even means. Individual atheists might have their own personal identifications of what evil is and isn't, and their own personal strategies for how to address this evil, but these are in addition to their atheism and are not necessarily shared by other atheists. For myself, I define an evil as a harm or ill (the original definition if you trace the etymology of the word back to the old Germanic tongues, or so the dictionary tells me) inflicted (perhaps passively) upon a person, and anything which inflicts such harm or has a strong tendency to inflict such harm as evil. This can include natural things like disease or typhoons, or human events such as crimes or persecution. Because of the ubiquity of death, and our relatively fragile state while alive, and the impossibility of supporting a large, ever-enduring population, and the limitations in our ability to affect our environment, we cannot wholly eliminate evil. There will always be harm. We can, however, reduce it. Many evils can be prevented, mitigated, or reduced with careful vigilance and good strategies. The exact details vary based on the nature of the evil to be combated, but are ultimately problem-identification and problem-solving strategies. For example, considering the recent typhoon in the Pacific southwest, much of its evil can be (and was) prevented by the following measures: Storm prediction and tracking, worldwide networks devoted to, equipped for, trained in, and experienced with disaster relief, social conventions that allowed civil order to (largely) endure beyond the disaster, and so on.
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23-11-2013, 10:01 AM
RE: Does atheism solve the problem of evil?
Atheists have a lack in belief of god. N00bsauce. Dodgy

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23-11-2013, 10:14 AM
RE: Does atheism solve the problem of evil?
Atheism removes a portion of evil from the world by removing religion from a human mind.
Religion can encourage a good man to commit atrocities.
But then again atrocities don't need religion. They just need a lack of empathy.

In many ways your question is almost like asking "How does not gardening help solve the problem of evil" ?

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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23-11-2013, 10:27 AM
RE: Does atheism solve the problem of evil?
Evil could be simply defined as "Crime" or "criminal behaviour in the culture defining what is "Evil"
Atheists are arguably less likely to be criminals.

http://www.salon.com/2013/06/12/study_th...religious/
http://www.nairaland.com/121066/predomin...west-crime
http://www.atheismresource.com/2010/athe...ligious-do

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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23-11-2013, 10:53 AM
RE: Does atheism solve the problem of evil?
(23-11-2013 09:42 AM)sporehux Wrote:  
(23-11-2013 09:28 AM)chandlerklebs Wrote:  I have already seen that religion fails to answer the basic problem of evil. Do atheists have an explanation of where evil comes from and the correct way to stop it?

Evil is to me a broad definition of despicable behaviour.
It comes from many reasons, terrible upbringings, metal health issues.
Learnt/succumbed to from peer pressure,
Mostly I think its a lack of empathy for the entities that are the target of the evil.
of course one persons evil can be another's breakfast .

So Unless your specify exactly what you definition of evil is and in what cultural context . the word has only a vague meaning.

If you think Evil is a "thing" (entity, supernatural force), then your not an Atheist.

I can't say it better than this.
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23-11-2013, 10:55 AM
RE: Does atheism solve the problem of evil?
Atheism doesn't have anything to say about evil or anything except for the non-existence of deities. Your reachingTongue
Science and psychology could probably find your answer.

"I don't have to have faith, I have experience." Joseph Campbell
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23-11-2013, 11:09 AM
RE: Does atheism solve the problem of evil?
Your question is ill-formed.

If there is no god, there is no problem of evil.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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23-11-2013, 11:14 AM (This post was last modified: 23-11-2013 11:58 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Does atheism solve the problem of evil?
Nope. The OP needs to define "evil", (for himself/herself).
It's not the job of "atheism" to *do* anything. One does not get to select (*plug in*) a worldview that gets the "most things done", or is "the most satisfactory", based on how much or what it accomplishes, (Utilitarianism.) The search for truth is agnostic. It matters not what it "does" or does not do. Religion certainly does NOT "solve" the problem of evil, (and it can easily demonstrated it can't even define it, historically MIS-defines it, and is utterly bankrupt).
So, no. It has nothing to say about the matter of evil, nor should it, nor need it. The assumption of the question in the OP, is that one gets to pick a worldview that accomplishes the most, (a variation of "god of the gaps"). It's a meaningless question.

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Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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