If you’ve ever wondered whether God is real, here are ten reasons to question it. In fact, the problem with God is a lot more serious than just the existence of incongruities like quipus creators.
In this post we’ll be looking at 10 problems with God – from the “catch-22” paradox that looms over Christians who want to know if their salvation is guaranteed, and why an omnipotent being would apparently have an issue with homosexuals being denied entry into Heaven. We’ll also examine how some people see atheism as blinkered or simplistic; and why in many parts of the world it’s not even possible for atheists to exist without risking a whole range of human rights abuses….
1. The problem of evil
I think this is the one that I see most frequently, and the one that strikes me personally as the hardest to get over. The problem of evil is a famous catch-22 paradox, named after C.S. Lewis’s novel ‘The Screwtape Letters’ – a book which itself presents a case against God based on this paradox.
The catch-22 paradox is not some obscure theoretical concept; it’s a real world phenomenon, found almost everywhere around us. The reason it’s called a paradox is because it’s a situation that defies logic; no matter which way you go about addressing it, there will always be two (or more) conflicting explanations for an outcome.
2. The problem of knowledge
Perhaps the most famous problem with God is the problem of knowledge. In 1961, Bertrand Russell, one of the world’s greatest philosophers, published a letter to A.J. Ayer, in which he looked at how it might be possible for us to know anything – including whether or not God exists.
3. The problem of suffering
Not surprisingly, another major problem is the existence of evil and suffering in the world. Why would an omnipotent God allow these things to exist? This problem is at least as old as recorded history. In fact, the biblical book of Job (written centuries before the birth of Christ) deals with this issue.
4. The problem of human rights
In many parts of the world, it’s not just atheists who are discriminated against – it’s any and all non-believers. That includes people who don’t believe in a specific religion – or indeed, any religion at all.
5. The problem of free will
In the same way that it’s difficult to know whether God exists (if you don’t ask), it’s also hard to know whether people have free will. This problem is common in many religions, even those with a largely positive message. If your belief system doesn’t allow for people to make their own choices, then how can you take a moral stance against ‘sinful’ behavior?
6. The problem of the origin of evil
This one is often referred to as the problem of evil and suffering in the world (see above). But it can also be phrased as a problem of the world’s origin. Why would God create creatures that cause us so much torment? In the book of Job, we find the answer – not an answer that most people would view as satisfactory.
7. The problem of suffering
The problem of suffering (see above) can be described as a ‘catch-22 paradox’ as well. Even if God exists and wants to end all suffering, it’s hard to know when or even if this will actually happen; you might be trapped in an endless cycle of suffering, with no way out, for all time and eternity.
8. The problem of existence
If God does exist, it’s hard to know why. This question is related to the problem of free will (see above). If God takes a stand against evil, but there’s no free will, then he’s taking a stand against a situation that he has no control over.
9. The problem of non-believers
What happens to non-believers (or non-conformists) in an afterlife? Millions of us are taught that we must believe in God, or suffer the consequences – which could include eternal damnation. If God exists, how can non-believers possibly be regarded as moral people in his eyes? In the Bible (and many other religious texts) non-believers are either cast out or killed.
10. The problem of evil and religion
If an omnipotent being created the world, how can we possibly know whether this being is good or evil? For that matter, how can we know that this being is omnipotent? This kind of question (with a few variations) has been posed by atheists for thousands of years.
All of these are problems with God; they explain why an omnipotent being might not exist, and why religion might not be a good thing. But these are not reasons for thinking that God does not exist.
Atheism does not claim to have the answers to any of these problems. It would be easy to say that atheism “proves” that God does not exist. But this is where it all becomes a little more complicated.
God’s existence is too big for our brains to handle because he wasn’t designed to fit in our brains. Deity design failure. He doesn’t conform to even the minimum standards required for him to make sense to us.