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Peterson , p. They claim that, since there is something morally problematic about a morally perfect God allowing all of the evil and suffering we see, there must not be a morally perfect God after all. In the second half of the twentieth century, atheologians that is, persons who try to prove the non-existence of God commonly claimed that the problem of evil was a problem of logical inconsistency. Mackie , p. Here it can be shown, not that religious beliefs lack rational support, but that they are positively irrational, that several parts of the essential theological doctrine are inconsistent with one another.
Evil is a problem, for the theist, in that a contradiction is involved in the fact of evil on the one hand and belief in the omnipotence and omniscience of God on the other.
Anguish and the Almighty: Theodicy 2007
Mackie and McCloskey can be understood as claiming that it is impossible for all of the following statements to be true at the same time:. Any two or three of them might be true at the same time; but there is no way that all of them could be true. In other words, 1 through 4 form a logically inconsistent set. What does it mean to say that something is logically inconsistent?
None of the statements in 1 through 4 directly contradicts any other, so if the set is logically inconsistent, it must be because we can deduce a contradiction from it. This is precisely what atheologians claim to be able to do. Atheologians claim that a contradiction can easily be deduced from 1 through 4 once we think through the implications of the divine attributes cited in 1 through 3. They reason as follows:. Statements 6 through 8 jointly imply that if the perfect God of theism really existed, there would not be any evil or suffering.
However, as we all know, our world is filled with a staggering amount of evil and suffering. Atheologians claim that, if we reflect upon 6 through 8 in light of the fact of evil and suffering in our world, we should be led to the following conclusions:. Putting the point more bluntly, this line of argument suggests that—in light of the evil and suffering we find in our world—if God exists, he is either impotent, ignorant or wicked.
It should be obvious that 13 conflicts with 1 through 3 above. To make the conflict more clear, we can combine 1 , 2 and 3 into the following single statement.
There is no way that 13 and 14 could both be true at the same time.
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