I Found This Quite Amusing …
July 18, 2007 20 Comments
It’s amazing what one can find browsing through WordPress’s Tag Surfer. Take this one person, for example. I came across his blog the other day while scrolling through the Tag Surfer and seeing his Is God impotent? Evil? or non-existent? post. Throughout his blog he shows a great deal of enmity and hostility to anything remotely religious (he’s an atheist, so he’s obviously retarded intelligent). He shows particular disdain for Muslims claiming that “all religious people are complete idiots, without the ability to think for themselves. However one group clearly has the lead in stupidity, the Muslims.” I find this quite amusing considering the fact that in my brief perusal of his blog thus far, he’s displayed a tendancy to misspell words you wouldn’t think a person who claims to be “far! intellectually superior to” religious people would misspell. Examples of this are his renditions of: philosopher (philosofer), mosque (mosk—several times!), and Rwanda (Rowanda). You would think someone so “intellectually superior” to people of religion would at least have enough sense to make use of WordPress’s spell-check feature, if even just once in a blue moon … but then again, someone so self-deluded might think his supposed superiority excludes him from the need to do so, so probably not.
In any case, I wanted to take a look at some of the (il)logical questions pertaining to evil mentioned by this person in his Is God impotent? post. He writes,
lets take a look at something els from the same time period, EPIKUR (342? – 270 f.v.t.) the greek philosofer. posed some interesting questions around the stupidity of god that i think illustrates how incredibly stupid you have to be to be religious.
Epikurs questions went something like this, there is evil all around so:
Is god willing to prevent evil and suffering, but unable to do it? (then god is not almighty)
Is he able, but unvilling to prevent evil and suffering? (then he is evil.)
Is he both able and willing to prevent evil and suffering? (then where does evil come from?)
Is he unable and unwilling to prevent evil and suffering? (then there is no point calling him god)
Now, these questions themselves are inherently flawed. That flaw stems from several things, but rather than address the many causes that may be to blame, I wish to touch on a couple rather obvious ones: a) the questioner’s apparent understanding of evil and its reality; and b) how our universe functions and the role evil plays in it.
Firstly, what is evil? Everyone’s going to say that evil is the opposite of good; but then what is good? Are these things subjective to each individual, or is there some sort of standard that we all can go by? This is a question most atheists will have trouble coming up with a convincing and definite conclusion to. For Muslims, however, (and most people of religion, for that matter) the answer is pretty simple. In his book Shifâ’ al-‘Alîl fî Masâ’il al-Qadâ’ wal-Qadar wal-Hikmah wat-Ta’lîl (“The Ailing One’s Cure In the Issues of Divine Decree, Predestination, Wisdom, and Causation”), Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah explains, “Evil is placing the thing is other than its [proper] place, so if it is placed in its [proper] place, it is not [considered] evil.” As such, evil cannot be attributed to Allah, since Allah puts everything in its proper place according to His complete and perfect knowledge and His complete and perfect wisdom.
That said, there are two types of evil: evil that is pure and unadulterated, it is evil from every aspect; and evil that is relative and incidental, it is evil from certain aspects, but not from others. The evil found throughout the universe is this second type of evil. As for the first type of evil, it doesn’t come into existence and as Imam Ibn al-Qayyim mentions, “if it did enter into existence, it would not be pure.” That is because evil is always relative to whatever it is linked to; something that may be perceived as evil for one person may be something that is perceived as good for another. Sickness, for example. It is evil for the one who is afflicted by it, but it is good for those who are able to treat it and make a living doing so (e.g., doctors and physicians). Similarly, machinery such as cars and household appliances. When they break down or need maintenance, those who suffer the misfortune of having these things breakdown on them undoubtably see it as something evil. The mechanics who make a living repairing and fixing them, however, will see it as something good as they are able to do their jobs and earn a living to provide for their families.
This universe works on cause and effect; it is the way Allah created it. Something happens, which in turn affects the things around it and cause other things to happen. Keeping this in mind, the occurance and existence of evils in the world is integral to how the universe functions.