Tuesday, March 6, 2018


Louise Antony, professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, stated in a NYT interview:

·       I claim to know that God doesn’t exist… the question has been settled to my satisfaction. I say “there is no God” with the same confidence I say “there are no ghosts” or “there is no magic.” The main issue is supernaturalism — I deny that there are beings or phenomena outside the scope of natural law.

Antony has stacked the deck against the supernatural assuming that there exists nothing beyond “natural law.” And are these laws of science natural? Perhaps, instead, they derive their origin, elegance, immutability, and universality from the Mind of God?

Upon what then does she base her dogmatic denial of the existence of God? She claims that the very evident presence of evil in this world has dealt a knockout blow to the idea of an “omnipotent and benevolent” God:

·       I find the “argument from evil” overwhelming — that is, I think the probability that the world we experience was designed by an omnipotent and benevolent being is a zillion times lower than that it is the product of mindless natural laws acting on mindless matter. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/25/arguments-against-god/?_php=true&_type=blogs&emc=eta1&_r=0

Antony didn’t attempt to explain how the presence of evil argues so definitively against such a God. Nevertheless, there are several problems inherent in this statement alone.

For one thing, an atheist has no logical right to invoke the concept of the absolute, objective moral concept of “evil.” By denying God, the necessary basis for all unchanging, authoritative moral truth, she also denies the existence of evil. Hence, Antony uses what can only come from God (the concept of objective evil) to disprove God. However, by denying God, she can only coherently make a subjective statement:

·       “This feels like evil to me, and I don’t feel that a benevolent and omniscient God would conduct himself that way.”

While this modest statement would be permissible, Antony lacks the grounds to use her personal sentiments as objective arguments against God’s existence.

Buried within Antony’s claim, there is also, an unwarranted assumption: “Such a God could not possibly have a good reason to allow evil and suffering.”

However, can we rule out such a God because He fails to conform to the way we would do or create things? Such a judgment would be both arrogant-to-the-max and absurd. It would be like saying:

·       “God, I tripped and fell and broke my leg. This wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t created gravity. I know better than you how things should have been created,” or “We age and die, and that stinks. If you knew what you were doing, you could have made us so that we wouldn’t die.”

Such statements suggest that we possess a greater knowledge than we do. Actually, we live in a world of profound mysteries.

Perhaps instead, as many have asserted, we need hardships, and that an easy life brings out the worst in us. Besides, despite the evil and suffering, most of us cling dearly to life. I think that says something in favor of its Designer and the goodness of His creation.

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