01/01/2005: Thought for the Day:
To the atheist, or to the pantheist who is almost an atheist, there is no problem of evil. Evil is just part of how things are.
Occasionally one encounters the notion that an atheist faces an equally difficult problem in explaining goodness. It is a foolish notion because the atheist has no need to explain either good or evil. Of course if one could muster up a belief that God is supremely evil, then a problem of good might arise. It could be justified (as atheist sometimes do in jest) by asserting that all the good we experience is necessary to make possible greater pain. what better means could a Supreme Devil use for maximizing evil than allowing he creatures to enjoy life for a brief time, even to live with hope for another life, only to meet with final annihilation or perpetual torment in hell. But for the atheist or pantheist there is no problem of good or evil. The world is simply the absurd mixture it is.
--Martin Gardner, The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener
Len on 01.01.05 @ 12:01 AM CST