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LostInParadise's avatar

Is God evil?

Asked by LostInParadise (17944 points ) July 22nd, 2012

You would think that with all the arguments for and against the existence of God, that there would not be anything new to say. Professor Stephen Law provides a new wrinkle by saying that there is as much evidence for God being evil as there is for God being good. He readily concedes that the argument for an evil God is absurd, but no more so than the argument for a good God.

The video is kind of long so let me state some of the highlights. Explaining the existence of good if God is evil is the same as explaining the existence of evil if God is good. An evil God would provide good and distribute it unevenly so people would be envious and get into fights and have wars. One thing that Law does not talk about is the existence of death, which is of course easily explainable if God is evil. Law provides a nice explanation for why there are so many religions. The evil God, posing as a good God, caused Jesus to rise and had God dictate the Koran to Muhammed, so that the two different groups of followers would fight against each other.

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47 Answers

josie's avatar

You cannot debate the issue unless you accept the premise that God exists. People who conclude that there is no God will drop out of the debate. That only leaves the ones who believe in the supernatural, which means that they will believe anything. Which means each side of the argument will commit one fallacy or another.

Symbeline's avatar

There are certain religious philosophies or beliefs, like dystheism, that suggest that God could be evil, or at the very least, not so ’‘good’’. Others, like deism, suggest that God is ’‘indifferent’’, and doesn’t intervene or otherwise mingle with His creation after having created it.

God can be good, God can be evil, I think the problem with that is that these are terms coined by people in accordance with one’s own interpretation of things around them. That they’re given to a higher force only suggest a further need for guidance and security in the world’s adversity. God built us in His image, or we built Him in ours. Point is good and evil are suggestive, so it’s easy to call God evil/good if you try to connect the rules with the loose ends; if God is so good, why does war exist? If God is so good, why does evil even exist? Why doesn’t He stop it? There are probably answers to all of that depending on which Christian branch you’re at. So, in short, I don’t know.
The evidence that God is evil as much as He’s good has been seen before, and if we assume He exists, I’d have to agree with the idea that He’s indifferent, whether or not He directly has anything to do with people after having created everything. It’s what makes the most sense to me, given what God is supposed to be like, and what I see around me in accordance with the rather simple rules God is usually associated with.

ucme's avatar

That’s an anagram of Live Disgo which nearly means let’s dance, except it should be a c instead of a g & ...............this hasn’t gone well at all.

CWOTUS's avatar

It’s also an anagram of Dog Is Live. But GA for the thought, anyway.

ucme's avatar

GI do Elvis…..who knew?

LostInParadise's avatar

@josie , This is an argument to be made by an atheist to a theist. I can’t prove that a good God does not exist, but neither can you prove that an evil God does not exist. Yes, the existence of an evil God is absurd, but that means that the existence of a good God is equally absurd.

CWOTUS's avatar

I think we’re agreed, then, that all existence is absurd.

SomeoneElse's avatar

God is basically good, surely, but we had to complicate matters and assume that He must be evil too. Why?
Ying and Yang?
I reckon it is us who are good and/or evil and when something ghastly happens God gets fists shaken at Him. We have the capability to be very good or very bad and are to the Earth and each other. We invented money and that has been the root of evil surely, or one of the roots,

Sorry I have rambled a bit here.

tinyfaery's avatar

Read the Brothers Karamovoz. Very interesting take on god and how we define evil.

Bilbo123's avatar

Is Bilbo evil?

josie's avatar

@LostInParadise As you know, nobody has to prove, that an evil or good God does not exist since if it does not exist, it leaves no evidence of itself and since there is no evidence, there is a rational assumption of non existence. That is axiomatic, and is different than a logically constructed proof. The assertion that there is God requires proof. The assertion that there is not one stands on the absence of any evidence (folklore and blind faith not falling into the category of evidence). That is why in American criminal law, the onus of proof is on the one asserting guilt (the act of a crime, based on its evidence), not the one asserting innocence (no act, no evidence, thus the assumption of innocence).
Anyway, this is just another cat chasing its tail on Fluther. When will I learn? Josie out.

ragingloli's avatar

Based on the biblical descriptions and evaluated based on modern secular enlightenment values, definitely yes.

CrazyChristian12's avatar

God is definately NOT evil but if you want proof that he is not evil, look around you, he made this beautiful earth. He made you and your life! He loves you, evil cannot love. Does that answer your question?....also, read the bible, it will show you gods great works.

augustlan's avatar

@CrazyChristian12 One could just as easily say “God is definitely evil, but if you want proof that he is evil, look around you. He made this giant space rock we live on, knowing that it will die when the sun explodes. He made Hitler and his life! He made cancer and terrorists, rapists and murderers!” That is the point of the question, I think. A case (however nonsensical) could be made for either position.

CrazyChristian12's avatar

Not true, satan created sin and sin is born within us. Christ does not create us to be terrorists and rapists. Unfortunately, if that is what you believe i can do nothing to change your mind.

P.S. Satan wasnt created by god though, he was here since the beginning of time also so please think of that. ;) GOD DID not CREATE EVIL!

augustlan's avatar

I thought Satan was a fallen angel, who God created? In any case, I don’t want to argue with you, I was just explaining the nature of the question.

Symbeline's avatar

I was also of the mind that Satan was once God’s right hand man if you will, then named Lucifer, who was cast out of Heaven for trying to topple God’s position, or something like that. :/

SomeoneElse's avatar

@CrazyChristian12 Look in the bible you say? Who wrote it? Man/men. They were not exactly taking dictation from God were they?
I am with you as regards to this wonderful planet God created, but I am with @augustlan as to the supposed history of Satan, and his being a fallen angel.
‘Sin is born in us’? So you are saying that it’s all ‘nature’ and not ‘nuture’ as to why evil doers fall from grace?
I really don’t think there can be a definitive answer to this as it is a case of each to his own surely?
Welcome to the Wonderful World of Fluther by the way!

ragingloli's avatar

@augustlan
I thought Satan was a fallen angel, who God created? In any case, I don’t want to argue with you, I was just explaining the nature of the question.
Only in Christianity. In Judaism, Satan is God’s obedient servant.

DigitalBlue's avatar

I don’t believe in any gods, but “God” does seem evil, to me. I often think that even if I believed that there was a god or gods, that the Abrahamic god isn’t one that I would be chomping at the bit to worship. I really can’t even wrap my head around this argument, because attempting to prove that God is good or evil is impossible, because we can’t even prove the existence of such a thing.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
flutherother's avatar

No, because bad as things are they could be so much worse. And if you look at history the worst things to befall us come not from God but from Man.

Sunny2's avatar

Gods were created by man to explain the inexplicable. Giving them personalities and intent are just part of man’s invention and that continues to this day. Paring it down to only one god who is all gods rolled into one was convenient at the time. The God of the old testament certainly doesn’t seem the same as the one in the new testament. Perhaps the invention will change further on down the line. Evil? Only if we creators say so.

Pandora's avatar

I don’t believe he is necessarily, good or evil as we view our world. I have no idea what he considers good or evil. Where is this line. We all draw a line for ourselves and they are probably so out of line with each others views. An example. I believe children should be taught our values of bad and good. And if a child of mine was taught and did something wrong, than they should face the consequences. People would call me cold, or even mean. I don’t see it that way. Its not to say that I don’t feel for them but rather I’m giving them room to learn and grow. I see it as being almost cruel to protect them to the point where they have to rely on you all their lives. Neither is really evil or good. Just a consequence of actions.
Evil and good are branding we give to actions. It is a human trait. I don’t necessarily believe it is a Godly thing.
Our human life is what is important to us. To God I believe it is our soul and the journey we take that matters. We are all as different as our fingerprints in our thoughts, location, and upbringing. I think we all start out the same in goodness. We each create what comes later.

Paradox25's avatar

Interesting question. This is something that I’ve always thought about throughout my life, and I still do. Personally, I don’t believe in a God per se, but my views are complicated. Many believers will claim that God is not evil, while many nonbelievers will claim that if a god exists, that it is likely evil for the reasons you’ve mentioned (and more).

I consider myself a theist (not a rigid one), but yet I’m open to the possibility of a dysfunctional god as in dystheism. I’ll attempt to give you an opinionated answer here, according to my own thoughts. I believe that Mind preceded and created matter, but I don’t believe that this Mind (or god) was omnipotent, since I believe that ‘god’ evolved from a very rudimentary sentience which likely always existed. Like us, the more that Mind learnt and experimented with, the more evolved it became. I think that it is likely this Mind was greatly bored and lonely, and it created the matter systems in the only way it could, using quantum waves created from its own energies.

The Universal Mind likely divided itself into many different fragments (us, our egos) to avoid boredom, and to have meaningful interactions with its other fragments. The matter systems (not just our own but the worlds of ‘spirit’) were likely created so that the minds could have an enviroment to have its own experiences in. Our lives are deliberately limited to avoid boredom, and when the vehicle (our bodies) wears out our minds (which are apparentely seated somewhere in the universe) registers to a new etheric copy, complete with a brain, to experience a new adventure.

From different spiritual teachings that I’ve read, societies without ‘evil’ (or negation) are very rudimentary, and do not evolve mentally and spiritually. It seems that in order to be ‘good’, that we must experience hardships, since that is when our true character shows. Apparently hardships enlighten us spiritually. It appears, at least from where I’m standing, that we’re all unwillingly playing the ‘creators’ game whether we like it or not.

JSpeer's avatar

Everyone misses the big picture here. The only reason there is any sort of concept at all of Good and Evil, is because God says that whatever he is, is “good”, and anything other is “evil.”

There was no outside source of good and evil that God chose from, and decided to pick the “Good” one or the “Evil” one…

Good is whatever God IS according to him. So you can’t even argue that God is evil, because if he was, then evil would be good. follow?

Outside from God, where are you getting your standard for good and evil?

If you’re arguing about God in the first place, you are assuming God is real, and is in fact…God. Which means you are believing only what God says…so why argue anything else he says? Either you believe everything or you believe nothing.

JSpeer's avatar

@CrazyChristian12

Just wondering. Where in the Bible did you get the idea that “Satan” was here since the beginning and was not created by God?

JSpeer's avatar

To everyone,

God NEVER promised a perfect planet where there will be no evil or death. In fact, he promised the exact opposite. He said this world would be FULL of trouble.

The “good” part of the story is that right after he tells us that there wil be evil everywhere, he tells us that he is more powerful than that, and invites everyone to “come onto his side” and be comforted and loved.

This is free will. God does not make evil happen, he allows it and then offers refuge from it in him.

Why? because he wanted a “companion” that would choose to love him and to hate anything apposing him.

Who? ANYONE. ANYONE. ANYONE.

If you believe in God. then the only person keeping you from being saved is you. you either turn down the invitation or accept it.

If you dont believe in God. Why are you arguing it.

I dont argue what magic rainbow unicorn babies think about asparagus, because I do not believe there are magic rainbow unicorn babies.

LostInParadise's avatar

There is an interesting dilemma that is posed to theists, which asks, “Does God do things because they are right, or are they right because God does them?” You are the only person I have come across who selects the second option. I suppose then that if it did not say in the Bible not to kill or steal, that you would consider these perfectly acceptable.

JSpeer's avatar

Good is whatever God is. God is not good…good is God. So yes, whatever God is, says, or does is good. And whatever he tells us is good is good, and whatever he says is bad is bad.

JSpeer's avatar

The bible teaches that your morality is based on your motives for doing certain actions rather then the actions alone. You can kill a man in war, or to protect your family in defense and that is justice in God’s eyes…but if you kill a man out of anger or to take his money, then you are wrong.

The entire Bible is focused on the heart.

If I am lost in the desert, starving to death and dying, and I stumble across a house with nobody home, but I see a crate of apples outside their house and I eat one to survive. God will not hold me accountable for stealing because the motive of my heart was not evil. I didnt steal the apple out of greed, envy, or revenge. And if I was like God I would most likely replace the apple later, or find a way to thank the person if I couldnt repay them.

ragingloli's avatar

Divine command theory, eh?
There is not a single basis for morality that is more arbitrary and worthless.

JSpeer's avatar

@ragingloli

You only say that because you dont believe in God. But you do believe in the principle. You believe in is a system of morals that you live by. Who told you to live that way? Why is that the best way to live? And why are you following standards that you yourself didn’t create?

Whats the difference?

ragingloli's avatar

My system of morality is the innate desire of every human to live, and to live well, and the fact that the best way to ensure that, for everyone, is to establish rules that respect and protect these desires most effectively.
To put it short, the golden rule. Treat others like you want to be treated, because that fosters a society where others will treat you likewise.

Yours is just “god says so”, with no justification or sufficient explanation why what god commands is good. What is god’s basis for distinguishing right from wrong?

JSpeer's avatar

Ah well you I guess you dont realize that you just stated that YOU are following Gods system of right and wrong because its the best for society. Not only that but you quoted GOD directly as the basis for your own moral system.

Not to mention you said, ”...the innate desire of every hum to live and to live WELL.” What you’re saying there is simply that every human wants to live a GOOD life, and that if you treat other in a GOOD way, then they will treat you in a GOOD way. Ok well who decided what a good life is, and what a good way of treating others is?

JSpeer's avatar

Also, there is amazing justification for God’s system of right and wrong. You just dont know that you know it, thats why you give credit to God without even knowing it.

Funny how God says he innately gave us all a sense of right and wrong. But you say you dont believe in God, yet claim that your sense of right and wrong is innate – and matches up exactly with God’s.

ragingloli's avatar

The golden rule is a lot older than any of the abrahamic religions, so no, I did not “quote god”.
Also, no, I do not follow god’s system of right and wrong.
I do not condone genocide, slavery, treating women as property, killing homosexuals, killing adulterers, killing so called “witches” and “false prophets”, killing disobedient children, killing people (and the entire city they live in) who converted away from the abrahamic god, killing people who dare to work on a certain day of the week, forcing someone to impregnate his dead brother’s wife and killing him when he refuses, sending a bear to slaughter children for calling someone a “baldhead”, or committing terrorism against egypt to reach a political goal.
The above list are all examples of what the abrahamic god condones, commands, and directly committed himself.

And the innate sense of what constitues a good life has direct evolutionary origins.
The goal of all life, by being life, is to procreate. Everything that life does is for that goal. Anything that helps to achieve this goal, which requires survival in the first place, like bodily integrity, sufficient food, water and other resources, safe environments, etc., is ‘desirable’, and anything that compromises survival and procreation, like threats to one’s very life, bodily injury, starvation, unsafe environments, is undesirable.
It is not exactly rocket science.

JSpeer's avatar

Ok, i understand where youre coming from. And i also understand that all of that does sound harsh and aweful. But, I also think that you are misunderstanding, misinterpreting, and mistaking on alot of those things you listed. Those things take a lot, a lot, a lot of study and undertanding of God, his people, and the society during that time. For example, the Bible “sounds” like its condoning slavery, but unless you do your homework, you wont know that its talking about indentured servitude, meaning you agree to borrow money, or something else, and then work for the owner for a certain amount of time until it is payed off. Also, The Bible teaches to love your wife more than yourself. Its says, “wives…submit to your husbands!” (which sounds awful) but the very next verse commands husbands to love their wives like God loves them. So in context, what women wouldn’t want to submit to a man who loves her like that? (no to mention the word “Submit” sounds more harsh then its implications). And for the other killing you mentioned, there is a lot more there involving numerous numerous second chances, warnings, pleads, etc for those people, who knew exactly what they were doing and what the consequences were but continued to hate God to his face. Anyway, theres a lot more there but yes i understand how you see it.

And your life is much more than the desire to create a comfy habitat to make babies in.

Thats what we see in animals but you are much more than that. If that was your only desire in life then you would not be seeking Joy. Animals mate, kill each other, sometimes eat their babies, and die – all based on instict. The fact that you are discussing these things with me right now shows that you are more than that. You arent hunting for a mate, you desire love and affection. You search for advice when you need it, you give advice to others, you love others. You work to reach goals, you want to see other succeed. you’d dive in front of a bus to save a childs life! Any animal would eat anothers child to save its own life. What drives us to be willing to sacrifice our own life for another’s. You are not the effect of evolution. I dont care if you believe in a god or even the God i believe in, but at least give youself some credit.

JSpeer's avatar

Also, of course the “golden rule” system was around before the “abrahamic religion.” Just because it’s written in the Bible doesn’t mean that’s the first time it was understood or valid. It was innate in all those people before Abraham too. Just like it is in you.

ragingloli's avatar

In other words, it requires massive twisting so that is says what you want it to say.
Your attempts to weasel yourself out of the inescapable immorality of the abrahamic god are frankly, quite feeble.
The time restriction (6 years) for being a slave only applies to male Israelite slaves, not for foreign slaves. Those can be owned forever, and if the original owner died, they were to be passed on as property to the owner’s sons.
And the ot also gives you a way to trick your Israelite slave to become your slave forever:
Just make him marry one of your female slaves, and then, at the end of the 6 years, you make him decide between becoming free and leaving his wife and children in the process, and staying a slave forever to stay with his wife and children. In that case the owner gets to pierce the slave’s ear, so everyone can see it. How very moral, right?
Not to mention that a slave’s children automatically become slaves as well.
You are also allowed to sell your daughters as slaves, regardless of whether she consents or not. And the 6 year term limit does not apply to her either. The only way out of slavery for such a girl is marriage (not that it makes any difference)

It is also quite clear that women were considered property by god, on the same level as lifestock, whose only purpose was to produce male inheritors for the man. (all the laws against adultery was to make sure there was never any doubt as to who the inheritor’s father was.) Marriage was selling your daughter to another man. Daughters could be sold into slavery directly.
Virgin rape victims were forced to marry their rapist.

JSpeer's avatar

Ok well its clear that we’re never gonna agree on anything. Which is fine, my intention was never to try and make you agree with me or anything lol.

My understanding is very different than yours because I understand who God is. You do not see God as anything other than a fictional character of literature, so there are many things that are unclear to you.

I just find it strange that everyone who is so against God, spends so much time talking about him. But im glad because maybe somebody else will read this conversation and be able to draw their own conclusions from it.

I think that you find God interesting, and want to understand him more. I hope you do sometime.

nice talkin to ya, @ragingloli !

ragingloli's avatar

because I understand who God is
I doubt that very much.

JSpeer's avatar

“who” he is, as in his character, what he’s like. He gives us that clearly.

Now as to exactly “what” he is…couldnt tell ya. lol

Symbeline's avatar

@JSpeer God NEVER promised a perfect planet where there will be no evil or death. In fact, he promised the exact opposite. He said this world would be FULL of trouble.

As far as I know, there WAS a perfect existence which God had made for men, but Adam and Eve messed up and now we all have to pay for it until Judgement Day.
This might be inaccurate, someone feel free to correct. with passages from The Bible preferably, not opinion please, lol

JSpeer's avatar

@Symbeline

Well its true that the vast majority believes that Jesus will return and make a new earth where there is no physical death, no physical pain, and no ability to sin anymore; a new Eden. I dont believe that Jesus ever promised that. I believe Jesus promised to return to the specific people of his day. He never promised to set up a literal physical kingdom on a restored earth. He even says plainly in regards to the new kingdom that he will set up when he returns for those people:

“You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.” Luke 17:21

He is referring to himself as the New kindgom of God, telling them – its already begun, im here. You are saved through me, and not through the old covenant LAW of moses anymore.

He says this as well to his disciples: “This generation will not pass away until they see the son of man coming in all his glory.” Mark 13:30

And he says many many other things to them all throughout the gospels, clearly saying im coming back SOON, the time when i return is AT HAND, the kingdom of heaven is ALREADY HERE.

Anyway theres a million verses surrounding this view, but I just want to share with you that there is a belief that many many christians are coming to embrace other than still a FUTURE coming of Jesus to the earth.

I believe that Jesus rescued his people in 70AD when he used the roman armies to destroy the city of Jerusalem.

What did he rescue them from: from the curse of the LAW that he first put them under in the Garden. Meaning when he came back and destroyed Jerusalem and temple, he was saying – im finished with all these sacrifices and rituals to earn my love. Now – his people only had to believe him, trust him, and love him in order to be saved – just like it was in the Garden.

I believe we are living in the new kingdom right now – we can live with christ right now if we choose to while we’re on earth, and then when we die we will be with him in a different way. Thats why Jesus says that our bodies are the temple. the NEW temple. the temple was the place where God “lived” during the mosaic law, now he lives within us.

Sorry i know thats alot to take in, and its a lot for me to say in so few words lol. but feel free to question, if your interested

JSpeer's avatar

Anyway to better answer your question:

I think God once had a perfect kingdom set up in the Garden, then it went away until 70AD, and now we are again living in Gods perfect kingdom.

Most christians just have a skewed interpretation and expectation of what God’s perfect kingdom looks like. They think it will be humanities idea of perfection and paradise. No death, no pain, no crying or sadness, streets of gold, no hunger or thirst, etc.

God’s idea of perfection is…Love me and I love you forever, and together we live apart from “evil” (opposition to God) and I’ll take care of you while youre on earth if you trust me and allow me too. if not, you’re on your own. lol

So yes God promised a perfect existence, and he gave it to us. We just need to understand and realize what we have.

JSpeer's avatar

Hey everyone sorry I have to leave this convo, but of you’re really interested in learning more about what Im talking about my dad does a great, simple free audio series on this stuff at

www.lightshine.me

It goes verse by verse through Matthew. Check it out

Thanks everyone, later

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