Can You Solve My Conflicting Rationale On The Existence Of A God?

(And commentary on the ancient debate: How is it reasonable for God and evil to both exist at the same time?)

Photo by Bryan Goff on Unsplash

First, Some Context

The most routine argument discussed in the debate on theistic belief, is that if there is an all-knowing, all-powerful God, then how can evil simultaneously exist?

Philosophers in favor of theistic belief, such as Kant, William James, and Pascal, all give a variation of the same message: there is no harm in believing in God, only benefit.

In other words, you should believe in God so that you can get into Heaven, just in case the atheists are wrong. (Kind of redundant, in my opinion).

Yet, personal gain aside, the question still remains. Does God exist? It is the job of philosophy to doubt, consider, and pursue an explanation as to what it means for evil and God to possibly coexist.

Disclaimer, I’m not arguing for one side or the other. I’m not even sure what my stance is. With a Christian mom and atheist dad, I’m always conflicted.

Here’s My Problem

It began when I learned about St. Augustine, a philosopher that rationalized and concluded that God was not the creator of evil.

He spent a big chunk of his time defending the existence of a good God.

Evil to St. Augustine, is not a substance, but rather the absence of good. Through free will, it exists at the same time as God.

This argument, for lack of better words, gets God off the hook. But this theory led me to two remaining questions.

These two questions spiral down and conflict each other in my mind, leaving me stuck when debating the existence of a God.

1. How Can Anything Exist, Without An Opposite?

(This is my question that argues in favor of a God)

Without light, there cannot be dark. Without the cold, it cannot be hot. And if there is an object, then it is possible for there to be nothingness.

Along this reasoning, it makes sense that without good, there would not be evil, and vice versa.

So then, in order for it to be rationally possible for humans to experience good things, such as love, comfort, and peace, there inherently must be hatred, torture, and war.

Furthermore, even if it were possible for only the world to be full of love and goodness, then it would no longer hold value. Similar to how if a child were constantly given candy rather than meals, the child would soon grow weary of the sweetness.

The conclusion to be made here, is that due to basic laws of existence, and by the nature of human beings, it is impossible for there to be a world where we exist without evil and only good.

The good news in the eyes of those who believe in God, is that this should be the entire point.

We can choose evil or good, and if we choose good, then there is a heaven that transcends these rationales. In this heaven, there is only good, and it is never tiring, or impossible.

So, all this answers my first question.

Nothing can exist without an opposite, and so if you do or don’t believe in God, it is a relentlessly impossible question to ask yourself, why does evil exist? It exists because humans are capable of doing good. As long as that’s possible, so will the opposite.

2. Is the existence of God not just a circular argument?

(This is my question that opposes the existence of God)

Say that there is a heaven, where the laws of our reality are no longer applicable. This place would be ideally perfect. No evil, only good. If this was possible, then why would it not just be this way on earth?

Why set these rules of opposites up to test us?

When speaking on matters of religion, I like to put my own being into perspective. I am a tiny being, on a tiny planet, in a vast and most likely infinite galaxy of space and things not yet discovered.

If a God did exist, he would be large and much much greater than all of this. Capable of anything. So, why test us humans?

In blatant terms, there’s just no point. Sure, create a bunch of humans, throw us on a rock, and see who’s moral versus immoral. Then separate us into a good place and a bad place for eternity. It all seems a little unnecessary.

Put bluntly, if there is a creator above us, then it sort of seems as if he’s just having fun. It becomes a circular argument when we begin to believe in God to give us a sense of purpose, yet God doesn’t seem to have a purpose to create and test us.

Where does all this thinking lead me?

The thing about religion is that it gives us humans comfort, and it’s a beautiful thing.

But how can it be more than that if the whole system of achieving eternal life is seemingly unnecessary?

The “Noseeum Objection” may be able to reject this premise of belief: Perhaps there is a greater picture that humans are too feeble to understand. That I, am too feeble to understand.

Yet as a thinker, it is reasonable that I make arguments based on what I know rather than on what I don’t. Therefore, no side of the argument on evil really wins the debate.

In the meantime, rather than focusing on the evil in the world, I choose to focus on the good. Everything we talk about in philosophy, how we view the world and God, is all up to the individual.

The purpose of life is to give life purpose.

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Juni Kim

Journalism major, reads a lot. Writing about anything that intrigues me.