Atheist Logic 108

THE EVIL GOD CHALLENGE

Conclusion

The focus of this paper has been on the evil god challenge: the challenge of explaining why the good god hypothesis should be considered significantly more reasonable than the evil god hypothesis. We have examined several of the most popular arguments for the existence of a good god and found they appear to provide little if any more support for the good god hypothesis than they do the evil god hypothesis. We have also seen that many of the theodicies offered by theists to deal with the problem of evil are mirrored by reverse theodicies that can then be applied to the problem of good. Prima facie, our two sets of scales seem to balance out in much the same way.
Now I do not claim that the symmetry thesis is true, and that the evil god challenge cannot be met. But it seems to me that it is a challenge that deserves to be taken seriously. The problem facing defenders of classical monotheism is this: until they can provide good grounds for supposing the symmetry thesis is false, they lack good grounds for supposing the evil god hypothesis is any more reasonable than the evil god hypothesis – the latter hypothesis being something that, surely, even they will admit is very unreasonable indeed.
While I acknowledge the possibility that the evil god challenge might yet be met, I cannot myself see how. Perhaps there are grounds for supposing the universe was created by an intelligent being. But, at this point in time, the suggestion that this being is omnipotent, omniscient and maximally good seems to me hardly more reasonable than the suggestion that he is omnipotent, omniscient and maximally evil.

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